A response to Rhoda Kadalie’s defense of the DA politics of deflection, deception, denialism and division
Rhoda Kadalie’s recent article Fransman’s racist rhetoric published on Politicsweb as well as in the Cape Times leaves much to be desired.
Given that Kadalie is not a member of the ANC nor was a delegate to the ANC PGC where the address was made – but rather a so called “independent voice” within the civil society sector as well as a former academic – one would have assumed that her article would have provided constructive critique by an outsider.
Much to my disappointment the article is in fact filled with political rhetoric, bias, unsubstantiated allegations and devoid of in depth political analysis.
One would have expected much more from someone who is a former academic and leader within the NGO sector where the culture of impartiality, independence, rigorous analysis and constructive critique ought to be inherent.
Noting the above allow me to interrogate some of what she has alleged.
Kadalie starts off and lambasts Fransman for his assertion that the DA remains the last outpost of conservatism, racism and backwardness without providing any critical analysis and or evidence to justify her argument. Fransman on the other hand, whether you agree with him or not, does so.
Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge Fransman’s evidence has to date never been publicly disputed by the DA. What is the evidence he uses? Here are a few examples:
1. Consistent “swart gevaar” racist election campaigns by the DP leaders since the new advent in 1994 as well as the 1999 poll (Hit b(l)ack campaign), its inception as 2000 with 2004, 2009 and 2011 elections;
2. Racists remarks by its leader Helen Zille calling Africans living in this province “refugees” implying they don’t belong here;
3. The appointment of a predominantly white and all male cabinet;
4. The perpetuation of old patterns of patronage and beneficiation in favour of mainly white established businesses. This includes the lucrative property deals in the Cape Town CBD;
5. Prioritising exclusive cycle lanes for the CBD, Milnerton and Table View areas as well as the BRT busses for these areas first at the expense of upgrading the public transport in the working class coloured and African areas where it’s needed most;
6. Failure to deliver on its own human settlement targets due to lack of political will, given that the beneficiaries are by and large black (African and coloured) poor;
7. The provincial legislature, as well as local councils under its controls and most of its recent appointments into government, remains pale and male overlooking more experienced and competent coloured and African candidates;
8. Issuing government contracts for goods and services to mainly big white monopoly at the expense of smaller black business, many of the times without following open and transparent processes. The recent TWA Hunt Lascaris multimillion Rand communications contract issued by the Premier is the latest in a litany of examples of how the small black businessmen have been overlooked.
9. The DA’s resistance to the cause of the Khoi-khoi and Saãn in its campaign to be recognized as indigenous Africans and the rights accorded as traditional leaders;
10. The DA’s council’s historical resistance to allowing the Klopse to march through Cape Town City;
11. The DA councils historical resistance to building Mosques in leafy suburbs such as Pinelands;
12. The DA’s selective opposition to international human rights violations by its silence in relation to solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine whilst being extremely boisterous in respect of so called violations in Zimbabwe;
13. The DA’s “kragdadig” (forceful) approach to safety and security when it relates to legitimate public protest by coloured and African poorer communities;
14. The biased and preferential service delivery and spatial investment in areas such as Bishops Court, Constantia, Claremont and the Atlantic Seaboard leaving limited resources to service the poorer areas like Bishop Lavis, Cloetesville, Khayelitsha and Atlantis;
15. The DA’s aversion to substantive and developmental public participation in African and coloured poorer communities as prescribed by our Constitution whilst claiming to be the torchbearers and guardians of our Constitution;
16. The closing of schools which are all located in the historically disadvantaged African and coloured areas mostly.
Secondly Kadalie asserts that Fransman contradicts himself by excoriating his comrades for factionalism whilst blaming the DA for its weaknesses. Either Kadalie is deliberately mischievous with the truth or her analytical ability must be seriously questioned. A more honest assessment of what was communicated is that Fransman did a relatively robust reflection of why the ANC performed poorly in the 2009 election. He indicated that one of the reasons for the ANC’s weak performance in 2009 was due to its own historical divisions and that the DA as a political party exploited this fault line.
There is nothing contradictory in this analysis.
Kadalie then alleges that the ANC is behind racially divisive and disruptive protests as well as a campaign known as Project Reclaim to bribe counsellors to leave the DA without providing any evidence to substantiate these allegations.
If Kadalie was a real developmental activist with her ears to the ground she would consider the more plausible possibility that the recent protests by largely poor African and coloured communities are based upon real issues and a direct response to the skewed and racist service delivery of the DA government.
Then poorer coloured and African communities have no choice but to return to the politics of protest given the DA government’s aversion to developmental public participation and direct engagement with communities. At the same time it is neither unreasonable nor unexpected for ANC members to have support and participate in protests of the voiceless as most of its members are the victims of this skewed service delivery.
Instead of dabbling in conspiracy theories and chasing ghosts where there are none, Kadalie should reread the short history of the DA, as they say “hindsight is the only exact science.” She will then understand the real reasons why coloured community leaders in the DA are leaving it once again. The reality is that the ANC doesn’t need to bribe anybody and coloured leaders in particular to leave the DA. They are leaving of their own accord as they have reached a ”gatvol” (fed-up) point due to the racism that is so endemic within the DA.
Kadalie it seems has also been intoxicated by the DA politics of deflection, deception, division, denialism and paranoia, which is so endemic within that party.
Since its inception a dangerous pattern has emerged in the DA that every time the DA and Helen Zille in particular are confronted with a crisis of credibility and or leadership within their party they revert to cloak and dagger conspiracy theories of so called attacks and Machiavellian plotting by the ANC to destabilise them. This is done in order to deflect the real issues.
This happened in 2001 when the DA was in crisis due to racism and cultural clashes amongst its members which resulted in many coloured activists leaving the DA. The DA then, like now alleged a conspiracy that the ANC was subversively plotting against them.
The reality as reflected in the Desai Commission of Inquiry was in fact the opposite. It found that it was the DA leadership of which Zille was part of that was involved in the cloak and dagger world of espionage and deception.
It found that the DA government lacked transparency, accountability and created a climate of fear, spying against their members, opposition politicians and the provincial administration’s civil servants.
As if the DA didn’t learn its lesson this same scenario played itself out again in 2007 when the DA run City of Cape Town under Helen Zille’s leadership was involved in spying on their own members, the opposition parties as well as the city administration in the run up to Helen Zille’s leadership race for the party.
All this was revealed in the Erasmus Commission of Enquiry. Regrettably we will never know the full extent of the corruption, maladministration, espionage and paranoia given that the Commission was stopped in its track before completing its work (due to procedural irregularities in its establishment).
It seems that the DA are once again reverting to the same old paranoid politics of deflection, deception, denialism and division as they are confronted with another credibility crisis amongst many of its new supporters and members particularly from the black African and coloured constituencies.
Kadalie then alludes to the fact that Fransman is making empty election promises to the Khoi-khoi and Saãn communities which he will forget once the election is over.
Someone needs to inform Kadalie that the election happened more than a year ago, or is Kadalie so consumed and far gone in this world of paranoia and conspiracy that she too now reverts to fancy flights of spin.
Fransman on the other hand has consistently argued that the battle for the recognition of the Khoi-khoi and Saãn as indigenous Africans and the return of their land is one that is based upon the ANC’s principle and policy to correct the historical imbalances created by hundreds of years of colonialism, imperialism and apartheid.
What Kadalie should be asking is why has the DA resisted the campaign for the recognition of the Khoi-khoi and Saãn as an indigenous African group?
Kadalie speaks as if she was a coloured veteran of the ANC and provides some alleged insight as to how so-called minorities are treated in the ANC and how they need to act in order to become and remain leaders as if it were fact.
Since when is Kadalie qualified to speak on behalf of to use her term “minority members” of the ANC given that she is not a member of the ANC?
However if Kadalie wished to comment as an outsider she should have put her research skills to better use instead of providing the reader with a pseudo-analysis without any evidence to substantiate it.
Had she done so she would then have understood that the ANC was founded upon the principles of non-racialism since its inception in 1912 and today as it celebrates its centenary it remains committed to a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous South Africa!
Kadalie would do better if she reads the ANC’s policies since 1912 to 2012 and stop the rhetoric!
It is a well-documented fact that coloureds, Indians and Whites have long been involved in the struggle for liberation and non-racialism with and in the ANC which was built over more than half a century through cooperation towards a single objective of ending apartheid and building a non-racial and non-sexist society.
Today the ANC still espouses the most progressive non-racial and non-sexist policy as is reflective in its leadership at all levels from the NEC down as well as in cabinet, parliament, provincial and local government structures. Furthermore it has the most progressive gender policy in action compared to all other political parties in this country. An analysis of demographics vis-à-vis representation in ANC leadership in government since 94 will indicate that “so called minorities” are in fact over represented.
Given Ms Kadalie’s new found enthusiasm for the protection of minority leadership, why is she not raising the lack of transformation in respect of race and gender in the DA run provincial cabinet of the Western Cape?
Kadalie then goes on to make wild accusations about Fransman using his office to incite animosity between Muslims and Jews and fuel inter-ethnic conflict. Again it seems she has done a grave injustice to the facts.
Kadalie should understand that the policy position that Minister Davies and Fransman have taken in respect of the support for the oppressed people of Palestine is a policy position of the ANC. The ANC has for decades supported the international solidarity campaign for the Palestinian quest for nationhood and self-determination based on a two state-solution. Fransman in his address was in fact providing feedback in respect of the government programs in relation to its party policy.
Kadalie should also understand that equally so the ANC and the Government and by implication both Minister Fransman and Davies have good relations with Israelis and the Jewish community of South Africa as well. These relations have been built through the dark days of Apartheid as many members of the Jewish community played a positive role in our struggle for liberation and today continue to play a positive role in the development of our democracy.
However what Kadalie fails to understand is that unlike the DA who with its politics of denialism i.e. (denying that after 1994 South Africa was still not equal given our historical legacy of colonialism, imperialism and apartheid and therefore there was and is no need for redress legislation such as Affirmative Action to correct the imbalances in the workplace) the ANC notwithstanding it’s good relations with the Jewish community and Israel will confront issues of oppression both within our country as well as in the international community. This position is based on its principle of international solidarity with the poor, oppressed and marginalized communities of the world including Palestinians. Secondly that the ANC will mobilise all communities Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim in its international solidarity work for a more just and equitable world.
As regards Kadalie’s rants of ethnic mobilisation she needs to know it is precisely because of the ANC’s historical ties with the Muslim, Jewish and the Christian community even before 1994 and its ability to confront issues of oppression and inter-faith conflict that we have such good inter-faith relations in this country today. In fact some would argue ours is a best practise for the world at large.
Instead Kadalie should look to the leadership of the DA (or the lack thereof) if she is worried about inter-ethnic and religious animosity being fuelled. She should be reminded that not too long ago i.e 1996 to 2001 this province was on a slippery slide to ethnic and religious warfare as urban terror and religious fundamentalism was on the rise and the Cape Flats gripped with fear. This situation spiralled out of control precisely because of a NNP and DA run provincial government that was incapable of addressing the issue.
Many of the leadership in the DA today were then there and either unable or unwilling to control the situation including Helen Zille, Mark Wiley and Lennit Max due its policy of denialism given that most of the victims were coloured.
What Kadalie also needs to be reminded is that it was the ANC leadership of which Fransman was part of that stepped in to neutralize the rise of vigilantism, religious fundamentalism and the urban terror threat caused by the failures of that government.
It was also thereafter the ANC government from 2002 to 2009 of which Fransman was part of that focussed on the issue of strengthening social cohesion amongst our different religious communities and went on to build this good inter-faith relations that Kadalie so fondly talks about.
Kadalie goes on to accuse Fransman of “undemocratic sentiments and a big man syndrome” by threatening to take back the province. A basic reading of his input is that he was calling on delegates to prepare to democratically win back the Western Cape at the 2014 elections based on the Path to Power 2014 strategy. Does Kadalie not see the irony in her argument!
Why is it that if the ANC wants to democratically contest to win back the Western Cape, it suddenly becomes undemocratic. The subtle text behind the argument is not only ironic and irrational it is also no different to the racist refugee remarks by premier Zille.
In the same way Kadalie seems to be implying that the Western Cape is holy ground for the DA and cannot be contested and won by other parties; particularly one that is dominated by coloureds and Africans such as the ANC.
Kadalie then continues to make frivolous allegations without providing any evidence that Fransman buys spoils of office through patronage. She should put her money where her mouth is and provide the proof!
Alternatively, if she enjoys making political statements without any evidence she should become a politician and join parliament where she will be allowed to make such preposterous and unsubstantiated statements with the protection of parliamentary privilege.
As it stands apart from having discredited herself through such sloppy writing and political posturing she has opened herself to litigation and liable for a smear lawsuit.
Kadalie’s political bias, tone and style against the ANC and Fransman in particular permeates the entire opinion piece and at times is so intellectually shallow and transparent that she portrays herself as a self-appointed unofficial DA lapdog.
Sadly, Kadalie’s vitriolic diatribe masquerading as political critique is not only a misadventure in intellectual masturbation, but more importantly she has done a major disservice to the independent voices of civil society. This further perpetuates the perception that there is an unholy alliance between the NGO world and the DA.
Finally, in her eagerness to please as the DA’s unofficial chief lackey, apparatchik and apologist her judgement has clouded her ability to reason and respond in a manner that is clinical, concise, constructive and credible.
However, her overly enthusiasm has also done a disservice to the DA’s own cause. Her attack on the ANC amounts to an amateurish attempt in the art of spin politics making her look more like a Chihuahua than the Rottweiler she pretends to be.
Ms Millicent Tingwe is a member of the Western Cape provincial legislature and ANC spokesperson on education in the province.