Ahead of the 8 May National Elections you would do well to acquaint yourself with the Political Parties registered on the National level for the elections.
Today we introduce you to: Democratic Alliance – DA
South Africa’s largest opposition party, the DA is led by Mmusi Maimane and grew out of what was the Democratic Party, founded in 1989. The DA won just over four million votes nationally in 2014, or 89 seats.
The Democratic Alliance is the result of many parties and movements coming together over the years and uniting around the vision of one nation with one future built on freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity for all South Africans.
The Progressive Party (PP) was formed to confront apartheid head-on – During the darkest chapter of our country’s history, the National Party’s (NP) policy of apartheid systematically denied the black majority their rights on a scale never seen before. The United Party (UP) was in opposition at the time but unwilling to confront apartheid head-on. And so, thirteen MPs broke away from the UP to form the Progressive Party (PP), a party dedicated to opposing apartheid and in so doing became the origin of the Democratic Alliance (DA).
In 1961 the PP won its first seat in Parliament with Helen Suzman. At a time when speaking out against apartheid came with harsh penalties, Suzman waged a single-handed campaign against every piece of apartheid legislation put before Parliament.
She fought against detention without trial, pass laws, influx control, job reservation on the grounds of colour, racially separated amenities, Group Areas, and forced removals. She demanded trade union rights for all and fought for better wages and working conditions. She visited prisons and obtained better conditions for prisoners.
In 1989 under the cloud of the State of Emergency an NP breakaway called the Conservative Party took over as official opposition.
But the PFP continued to oppose the apartheid constitution, which excluded black people and gave the newly created office of the state president too much power. After negotiations, the PFP merged with the Independent Party and the National Democratic Movement to form the Democratic Party (DP), led by Zach de Beer.
With the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and other liberation organisations, and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the process of negotiations for political change in South Africa began. The DP played a vital role in negotiating a constitution that included most of the principles and ideals the Progressive Party first stood for in 1959.
After South Africa’s first democratic election, DP Leader Tony Leon began the fight for the legitimacy of opposition in a democratic SA.
The DP grew in the 1995 municipal elections and overtook apartheid’s NP to become the largest opposition party in the country in the 1999 general elections.
During 2004 the Democratic Alliance (DA) was formed to ensure freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity for ALL
The DP decided that the best way to protect and strengthen democracy in SA is to build a strong opposition able to restrict the one-party dominance of the ANC. In 2000 the DP reached a merger agreement with the Federal Alliance and the New National Party (NNP), and the DA was formed. A year later the DA’s relationship with the NNP and former DP members broke down and the NNP formed an alliance with the ANC.
DA Manifesto: https://manifesto.da.org.za/
This information is gathered from the IEC and the above party website or publicly available documents.
Click here to see ALL 2019’s registered national parties.