Don't chase a deal with the ANC

Rob Duigan argues any kind of DA-Ramaphosa-ANC coalition post-2024 would be a fatal error for SA

The DA would like to enter into coalition with the “constitutionalists” within the ANC to become a party of national government in 2024. This has been a source of speculation for some time now, but after Helen Zille’s latest public appearance, it is official.

I believe this to be a grave mistake that will make any efforts to save any part of the country, even the Cape, impossible. I write this article therefore, to implore whoever is listening in the DA to please reconsider.

The Future is PE, not Cape Town

In Helen Zille’s most recent public appearance, she pointed out that the ANC has declined to below 50% of the vote at a national level, and that, as most analysts agree, they are almost guaranteed to need coalition partners in 2024. The solution to South Africa’s woes being a coalition between the DA and the “moderate reformers” within the ANC.

She claimed that Cyril Ramaphosa held the same values as her party, but that he was trapped by the ANC, and pointed to a few key public comments at the State of the Nation as evidence, wherein he complimented the DA on running Cape Town well.

The core DA strategy is based on the assumption that what was achieved in Cape Town can be replicated elsewhere. But this is a fallacy. Regardless of the cynical attempts to rebrand under Mmusi Maimane, the DA is still overwhelmingly seen by black Africans as “the white party”. And the Cape is ethnically and culturally very different.

A majority of the Coloured population voted the National Party in 1994, out of fear of black domination and because they are culturally closer to the West than to Africa; with a significant minority, looking forward to the end of white domination, voting for the ANC. In 1999 a majority of the Coloured population again voted for either the New National Party or the Democratic Party.

In 2000 the DA and NNP merged to form the Democratic Alliance and in the municipal elections of that year the newly formed DA won a majority of the vote in Cape Town. After the NNP broke away from the DA, and floor crossing legislation enabled the ANC to take control over both province and city, the DA’s coloured support dwindled, with the ANC winning 44% of the vote in Cape Town to the DA’s 28% in the 2004 provincial elections.

After showing themselves to be worse trustees of the Coloured community than anybody expected, the ANC were narrowly rejected in Cape Town in favour of the DA, which was able to cobble together a majority coalition. Subsequently the DA consolidated the Coloured vote behind it in Cape Town and to a lesser extent in the Western Cape.

But this model will not be repeated outside of the Western Cape, because the Cape is different, and ethnicity matters. The future is more likely going to follow what happened in Nelson Mandela Bay. Even with the largest share of the vote (46% to the ANC’s 40%), the DA still saw their efforts to rescue the city foiled.

Threatened by accountability and the end of the gravy train, the Charterists engaged in a sustained campaign of looting and sabotage, the greedy and corrupt coalition partners betrayed the DA, and the city fell again to those who robbed it bare to begin with. All the gains in service delivery were lost, and the DA sunk to 39% - parity with the ANC. Party leaders like Athol Trollip defected to other parties.

The DA is getting weaker

And whereas there was only one real alternative to the ANC in the Western Cape 15 years ago, today the nation has the EFF. The ANC can always turn to the EFF if they don’t like the DA’s deal. And the DA’s vote share is declining. 22% is a hard national support ceiling, and they are down to 53% in the Cape, already losing districts to tiny local parties.

The governance quality of the Cape deteriorates as the DA gets comfortable. Corruption scandals are being seized upon by even ANC puppet organisations like De Lille’s GOOD party. Street lights are going out in Paarl, and there are potholes in Wellington. Billions in debt are becoming unpayable, while open-ended local contracts are being made permanent. DA candidates are even starting to be assassinated due to internal competition.

To even dream of getting close to this project, the DA need two things - a radically different vision, and hard support from outside the party system, including massive enough funds to prevent David Mabuza from winning the upcoming ANC leadership contest. They think they have them both - the vision, and the support - when in fact they have neither.

The DA’s vision is non-racialism, federalism, Constitutionalism and the rule of law. But this is impotent at a national context. The Rule of Law and Constitutionalism - following the law and prosecuting corruption, and setting the powers of the state in stone - is something everyone believes in, even communist totalitarians. It has no meaning if you don’t know what the laws ought to be.

We already have a constitution, which the DA believes in. But it constrains provincial and municipal powers so precisely only a constitutional amendment could devolve power. The “federalism” they claim to believe in is impossible, and anyway, it took until last year for them to take their very first steps in this direction, after 15 years in power in the Cape. As for race, it allows for racial discrimination if that discrimination is “fair”. The Constitution, as its preamble states, stands for “social justice” – collective redress and collective material equality.

What the DA have left is Liberalism. But that isn’t a sturdy shield. The DA are competent governors, but cannot prevent the norms of society from changing into those of the ANC. They took until John Steenhuisen’s leadership to officially declare a non-racialist stance and oppose AA/BEE, and their key policymakers (mainly Gwen Ngwenya) still look for “more sensible” compromises with affirmative action policies (see the DA policy conference 18 months ago, or her career in student politics).

But this still leaves room for racial discrimination in the name of equality – hence the accusations of “ANC-lite”. In reality, this “pragmatism” is just a constant concession in the face of mounting forces of chaos, as proposals for open borders amnesty for illegal immigration demonstrate. Even the IRR sees the danger in this approach to race laws. And compromise is no good when the other side has all the bargaining power.

Worse, each generation also drifts radically more leftward as those watching the universities can tell you. Socialism and anti-minority racism now dominates every arena of social commentary or institutional reform. Even the private schools are falling to it, under the name of “inclusiveness” or “racial sensitivity training” – cheap consultant rackets that turn those institutions into witch-hunting grounds. Among black elites and journalists, genocidal rhetoric has become normalised, to the point that complaining about it in any context is seen as racism.

The DA is facing having their liberal philosophy displaced simply by the ruling cohort being aged out. What is needed is a radical change, to shake people into a different mindset But the DA aren’t going to deliver that.

Ramaphosa can’t be trusted

While the SONA speech made the DA optimistic, the truth is, Cyril Ramaphosa promises many things to many people, including the radicals. For example, he promises prioritising the party over the nation, and completing the 2nd phase of the National Democratic Revolution (EWC, one-party state, constitutional reform, etc). I think trusting Cyril is naïve - corruption has not even slowed under his watch; it has in fact accelerated. It is he who has initiated renewed efforts to pursue expropriation of white property without compensation or a fair trial. Who is Cyril lying to, and why is it not you?

Zille correctly points out that the ANC, and in fact the police force and civil service have become a vast system of interlocking criminal enterprises, and that ANC branch votes are bought, competitors are assassinated, and that much of the criminal underworld is tied to the ANC directly or indirectly. She also spoke on the use of Russian money to buy votes. This is all true, but it is the consequences she misses.

What little order and structure exists in SA, is the law of brutal patronage and violence, which the ANC commands. The rest of the economy is hollow. The volume of money funnelled in from British and American sources, and from South African oligarchs was what got Ramaphosa his spot in the last leadership election.

The powers mobilised in the last ANC leadership competition were vast, and hundreds of targeted assassinations occurred, most between rival taxi gangs attached to ANC factions. The “moderate” Thuma Mina faction of the ANC (as opposed to Zuma’s RET faction) can just as easily be seen as a money-vacuum with no principles but survival.

You don’t hear anybody complaining about that, because Cyril was a favourite with foreigners and white leftists until his failures started piling up. Even the apparently impotent MKMVA managed to help shut down half the country for two weeks last year to keep their chief Jacob Zuma from prison.

That vast criminal economy must turn somewhere, or it will turn to fight. The DA cannot play this game. They need the ANC to agree to hang itself in the courts, and do nothing to prevent the dismantling of this whole world, without pulling out enough jenga pieces to topple the tower into civil war, while giving immunity to collaborators.

And the consequences?

After the coalition deal is struck, a lot of people will feel betrayed, not least of which, the smaller parties that they currently share power with in Gauteng.

In power, the DA will have to perform an undiluted miracle, keeping the ANC from defecting to the EFF while prosecuting them for corruption and fighting a guerrilla war against the forces of crime and Charterism with mercenary violence and American money. They will need to change the constitution to remove the possibility of racial discrimination.

In the absence of miracles, the largely conservative white population will abandon the DA, and the black youth will flock to the EFF. ANC members will swing hard to the RET faction, as their narrative of WMC being the real state capture will suddenly hold a lot of water. The black radicals will make a comeback with a vengeance.

After this deal, the DA will have destroyed the credibility of themselves, and the moderates in the ANC, and the likelihood of them achieving what needs to be done are essentially zero - they haven’t the bargaining power to ask for what they need. The Cape will begone, because the DA will no longer be able to govern it again, and with them goes all the honest bureaucratic experience left in this country.

Then, the future will fall to the Solidariteit movement, and the corporate walled-off enclaves in the major cities, keeping the spice flowing by bribing political gangsters. And that is a bitter future - the ANC have made South Africa ungovernable for the foreseeable future, and the endgame is Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, there is a more immediately painful solution that could save at least some of our country. That is to endorse Cape independence. The rest of South Africa is bound to pursue the ideas of Black Consciousness, and Azania, as they like to call it, will make or break their future on their own terms, not that of an intransigent Anglo minority. Fail or succeed, black South Africans will own their future as honourable men, not trustees of some post-colonial white-man’s-burden.

The solution

It is no secret that I am for Cape independence. And I don’t think it will be possible after five more years of demographic change, driven as it is by racial discrimination in the job market and by shack farming and land theft by the ANC. To work the miracles they need, the DA will need to centralise power so extremely, that federalism will become a thing of the past, and any failure will destroy the hopes of even regional autonomy.

I implore you, to seize the opportunity now, for a chance to give the Coloured people not just a meaningless ballot, but real electoral power, a say in their future that matters. To give Afrikaners the possibility of a state that honours their language and culture, to Muslims, one that protects a 300 year harmony, a state that bears the marks of the best of English constitutionalism without its sinister leftward tendencies.

This will bring a future for minorities who seek a future away from the foetid ruins of postcolonial Africa, and the greying edifices of the sterile and decadent West. A future in which the leftward tilt of history can be stopped, or even reversed, at least in one corner of this earth, will be worth it. A small, neutral country, on the furthest southern reaches, sipping the passing nectar of free ocean trade, aloof from the violence of world politics, with no mineral resource to be envied, and no ties to great powers or old blood feuds.

A free Cape.

This is a shortened and edited version of an article that first appeared on Rob Duigan’s Substack. The original can be read here.