The DA is reportedly on the brink of a split, with certain senior members considering breaking away due to disputes over the party’s policy direction.
Sources familiar to the matter say several senior members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) are reportedly considering breaking away from the party and forming a new party due to disputes over the party’s policy direction. The concern surrounds the adoption of policies that shift away from liberal roots, including a “Secure our Borders” campaign that analysts say is a populist appeal to widen its support base. Other disagreements include how to handle the issue of black economic empowerment.
The sources, who asked for their identities to be protected, said the group of senior members have been holding talks to secure funding for the new party, however, the plans have been put on hold until after the elections, as they were concerned that there isn’t enough time to mobilise support. There is, however, also a strong chance that the group will decide to rally for change within the DA.
However, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has previously brushed off speculations of a split, where on 18 March 2019, he said:
“I dismiss those completely. The DA is a growing organisation. Along the way there will be people who want to hark back and already we are seeing that,” he said. “For me the great difficulty is you get four or five people who speak to the media and seek to propose that they are splitting away from the DA and suddenly the DA is falling apart, which is a false narrative at its best.”
The party finds itself in hot water less than two weeks away from the 8 May national elections and this is not the party’s only woes. It was heavily criticised for urging voters not to vote for small parties through its election advertisement, which is currently airing on radio stations. On Wednesday, 24 April 2019, several small parties said the campaign was not only mischievous but an insult to them.
In a letter to Bokamoso, DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s weekly message, he further drove the election campaign advertisement, saying there was an urgent need to build a strong counterweight to the ANC. He did, however, welcome the 48 parties contesting the elections as a sign of a vibrant democracy.
“Voting for smaller parties right now is tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Smaller parties will not stop our demise under the ANC and blurs our focus on the biggest threat to our democracy: one-party dominance,” Maimane wrote.
“But this is not a business-as-usual election; this is a fight for our survival. So, 8 May must be about building a credible alternative government, not about creating a wide sprinkling of opposition parties on the fringe of our politics.”