The most important chapter of our Constitution is Chapter 1. It contains the Founding Provisions, which can only be amended by a 75% majority in Parliament. The clauses in Chapter 1 are thus considered sacrosanct, and a yardstick by which all other clauses are to be measured.
The very first clause of Chapter one emphasises the value of Non-Racialism.
A basic understanding of this means that we accept that people cannot be classified on the basis of their race, and must be judged on their qualities, attributes, qualifications and contributions to society.
Yet despite this, arbitrary racial categorisation, as well as judging people as "good" or "bad" on the basis of their race, is as prevalent today as these evils were under apartheid.
What's worse, people are even arbitrarily categorised into race groups on the basis of their surnames, so that their imagined race can be "scandalised" -- even when they are doing voluntary work without remuneration.
This is the level of racial lunacy to which our society has sunk on almost every single issue.
The DA is the ONLY political party that does NOT approach society and developments in this way. Every other political party does. For them it is "Race uber Alles".
Even worse, most journalists do too. They see nothing unconstitutional in judging people on the basis of their race, not the content of their character or the quality of their work. If they had practiced their profession like that, even under apartheid, it would have been outrageous. Back then, it was progressive to be non-racial.
Today, astoundingly, non-racialism is widely regarded as racist. Apart from being unconstitutional it is patently absurd.
That is why when we focus on widespread corruption -- such as the estimated R1,5-Trillion looted from the state between 2014 and 2019 -- we do not focus on the race of the alleged perpetrators. We focus on their crime.
That is why, when we look at the extraordinary incompetence of many Cabinet Ministers, we do not care about their race, but about their governance failures.
So what if the National Cabinet is "unrepresentative" racially speaking? The question is: are they competent, or are they taking South Africa down the route to a failed state? We believe the latter is the case.
The only point at which race is relevant, is the way it is abused by the ANC. Take BBBEE, for example. That policy was never meant to empower black people disadvantaged by apartheid. It is merely a figleaf, to justify politically connected cadres winning tenders and contracts, and looting the state by using their race as a justification.
This is the cynical abuse of race that the DA exposes. And this abuse is made possible by the cynical use of racial categories to determine almost everything in our society today, despite the provisions of our constitution.
So to those who want the DA to join the national obsession about people's race, we say: NO. We tried that once before, and lost 450,000 votes in the process. We are proudly the only party that is genuinely progressive in judging people by the content of their character, their work ethic, their qualities, and not their race. We do our best to promote inclusion and diversity -- and we are succeeding more than any other party, because we do not believe that race is a determinant of value.
The DA is a party for people who share these progressive ideas. They were good and right under apartheid, and they remain so today. For all the retrogressive race merchants around, there are scores of other parties to choose from -- even the ANC if you do not mind R5,5-billion disappearing from the bank accounts of a handful of municipalities (because, after all, they were appropriately racially transformed).
We say that until we strop this retrogressive line of thinking, there is no hope for South Africa.
The DA represents the alternative. The DA represents the country's hope.
This article first appeared on Helen Zille’s Facebook page.