Columns 19.9.2013 06:00 am

Coalition plan trumps DA

FILE PICTURE: FF Plus, leader of the FF Plus and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

FILE PICTURE: FF Plus, leader of the FF Plus and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

DA federal chairman Wilmot James’s opinion piece (The Citizen, September 3) headlined “Principles set us apart” refers.

The FF Plus strongly differs from James when he writes: “The notion that different constituencies in South Africa’s electorate are or could only be represented by existing smaller opposition parties is wholly rejected by the DA.”

He then argues that all must join the DA as the only alternative to the ANC.

Why is he wrong and why will the DA never govern SA on its own?

Firstly, because in a diverse country like South Africa a single party, like the DA, will never get enough support to be able to defeat the ANC. It will eventually be defeated by a coalition of opposition parties, of which the FF Plus will be a part.

Secondly, because the DA, with the Western Cape as the basis of their thinking, doesn’t understand the northern provinces of SA.

Without understanding them, one will never win there. Without the northern provinces’ support, one will never defeat the ANC.

Other opposition parties do better in the north. How good is the memory of readers regarding the 2009 election results?

Apart from the Western Cape where the DA is governing, in how many of the other eight provinces is the DA the official opposition? Two.

In six of the nine provinces, parties other than the DA are the official opposition. How close was the DA to a victory in some of the other provinces in the previous (2009) election?

In no other province could the DA gain more than 22%. In all eight provinces the ANC obtained between 61% and 86%,

All the other opposition parties jointly obtained more votes than the DA and therefore also more opposition seats in Parliament.

That is why the FF Plus expressed its support for a coalition of opposition parties last week. I recently appeared with Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi at a meeting in KZN. The majority of the audience were fanatical IFP supporters.

In the previous election the IFP still had more than 800 000 votes.

To defeat the ANC, those votes cannot just be thrown away. The majority of these voters come from rural KZN and will never vote for the DA.

At a recent meeting in Pretoria, FF Plus supporters expressed themselves strongly against the DA, which after 20 years is still supporting affirmative action and Black Economic Empowerment. If the FF Plus disappears, these voters will rather not vote than vote for the DA. Therefore the FF Plus’s proposal: let every opposition party obtain the maximum number of votes from its own niche market.

A coalition of such parties, each retaining its own identity, will be much stronger than the DA could ever possibly become.

Instead of a debate about how the DA could nullify all other opposition parties, a positive debate about the FF Plus’s coalition plan is realistic and it contributes to a better future.

Pieter Mulder is leader of the FF Plus and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

 

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