Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Juli Killian, New National Party (NNP) provincial MP in Gauteng, argues today that Tony Leon and the DA's current stategy to 'build the core of an alternative government' are fatuous in the extreme:

'Only a political fool could believe that a white-led party could become the alternative government in SA,'

This is what fellow South African, and Oxford Economist, Robyn Evans had to say in response:

It is difficult to disagree with this point of view and in my opinion, to take Leon and his political
antics seriously any more. The DP lost all credibility when they joined forces with the Nats to form the DA
in 2002. Furthermore, Tony Leon's aggressive stance towards the Mbeki-led ANC, served only to antagonise
the government and undermine any future constructive initiatives from his own party. Opposition for the sake of
opposition does little to advance political discourse, or indeed social and economic development.

However, it is important in a democratic society that a strong, widely-supported opposition exists to challenge
a majority political powerhouse that is the ANC. Killian makes the case for building a 'moderate, nonracial centre'
to maintain a 'political majority against a future radical, socialist left-wing opposition'. Furthemore, she suggests
the NNP will 'continue to engage the ANC' to ensure that this happens. If the DP-Freedom Alliance alliance was
hard to stomach, the latterly cosiness of the ANC and their former oppressors reminds one that in the end it's all
about politics and votes, votes and politics. That Killian believes so fervently that the NNP will have any real
influence on ANC policy and thinking, is nothing short of amusing. The NNP has broadened the government's
power base and nothing else. All the rest is pie in a very deluded sky.

What then are the alternatives? The IFP? The PAC? The UDM? De Lille's ID? The last two are certainly ideologically
more appealing than the DA and NNP to anyone with left-of-centre inclinations, but not likely to rouse enough
interest amongst the wider electorate.

Perhaps what is needed is a newly defined and different version of the ANC. A black-led party that is designed to address the social and economic concerns of our generation. Not one based on years of history and suffering, but one motivated specifically by the challenges of today - globalisation, education, employment, economic growth, AIDS, human rights, environmental awareness etc. A party that will capture the imaginations of future generations of South Africans - both those who are constrained by the lack of opportunity and those who have begun to reap the fruits of our ten-year old dispensation. Maybe I am the one with deluded ideals, but it seems to me that what may have a chance of beating the ANC, is in fact the ANC 'reloaded'.


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