Structural inequality did not fall with apartheid

By:Mabine Seabe

Publication: PoliticsWeb

Attempt to fight without recognition of the legacy of the past would be to fight blindly and ignorantly

Berman’s criticism of the DA’s reference to apartheid in our election campaign, (20 June 2016) refers. In any conversation about economic policy in South Africa, the impact of apartheid plays a monumental role, and will for years to come. To fail to appreciate the power of the economic legacy of apartheid, and have a concrete plan to redress it, is frankly unthinkable.

It is also true that the ANC has fundamentally failed to redress this legacy, primarily by failing to fix public education, and by mismanaging the economy. It is possible for both of these things to be true, and it is possible – and entirely appropriate – for the DA to reiterate both of these truths.

Mr Kane-Berman suggests an either-or approach in this regard. Either South Africa’s economic fragility and chronic jobs crisis is the fault of apartheid and its lingering legacy, or of the ANC’s 22 years of governance. This is plainly incorrect.

The crisp point here is that the ANC inherited an unequal economy in 1994, yet has failed dismally in its attempts to address this structural imbalance. The ANC has failed to create jobs. The ANC has failed to grow the economy. And the ANC has failed to open up and diversify the economy. That is plain hard fact. The DA has not “shifted the blame for unemployment” as Kane-Berman claims. We maintain, as we always have, that the ANC is responsible for not addressing our country’s jobs crisis and allowing it to deteriorate even further.

The truth of economic exclusion will in no way prevent the DA from holding the ANC accountable for its abject failure to materially undo it. Just look at our track record: the DA has driven the opposition in Parliament and in the courts to the ANC’s detrimental policies and its growing corruption.

Our manifesto and our message in this campaign focuses on the choice that South Africans have for their future, and in particular a choice between which party will best deliver basic services and job creating economic growth. That message is front and centre wherever we go – both recognising the stubborn structural injustices of apartheid, and showing what the DA is doing to extend economic opportunities to poor, mainly black South Africans.

Reconciliation did not end with the TRC. Structural inequality did not fall with apartheid. The DA is the only party capable of continuing the work of dismantling apartheid and create a prosperous, non-racial society for all South Africans. We are fighting for South Africa’s future, but to attempt to fight without recognition of the legacy of the past would be to fight blindly and ignorantly.

Mabine Seabe is the Spokesperson to DA Leader Mmusi Maimane

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