Letter: What exactly does the DA stand for? - Businesslive

6 February 2019 - Though the DA may often be treated unfairly in the media, it does itself no favours by abandoning liberal principles when it suits it. The party would probably be treated more fairly in the media, and have a better image among voters, if it stuck to those principles rather than seemingly abandoning them on a whim.

Solly Malatsi, in his response to Natasha Marrian (Don’t misread the DA and misdiagnose realities, please, January 28), is correct in saying that the DA is often unfairly treated in the media.

What must be questioned, however, is Malatsi’s assertion that the DA has been “firm” in its principles.

It is not clear to many outsiders where the party stands on a number of principles. What, for example, is the party’s stance on free speech? Or on BEE? Many in the party itself would probably be hard-pressed to answer those questions.

In addition, the DA, ostensibly a liberal party, is taking illiberal and populist positions on a number of issues. Its stance on immigration is, as Business Day argued, straight out of the Donald Trump playbook. Comments on foreigners by DA Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba received little or no censure, which makes it seem the DA at least implicitly agrees with him. Liberalism values an open society, which welcomes outsiders. It does not seem that the DA still ascribes to these values.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane has also in the past raised the issue of whether referenda should be held on gay rights and the return of the death penalty, again fundamentally illiberal positions.

Though the DA may often be treated unfairly in the media, it does itself no favours by abandoning liberal principles when it suits it. The party would probably be treated more fairly in the media, and have a better image among voters, if it stuck to those principles rather than seemingly abandoning them on a whim.

Marius Roodt, Head of campaigns, Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2019-02-06-letter-what-exactly-does-the-da-stand-for/

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