The Democratic Alliance says it will introduce targets for the recruitment and development of candidates for public office based on race.
DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, said that that DA is the most diverse political party in South Africa’s history, but added that “we are not diverse enough”.
Maimane was speaking at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg on Tuesday (19 January).
He said that citizens must continue to embrace the rich diversity of South Africa – with all its challenges and contradictions. “If we do not, we will not be able to have an honest conversation about our divided past, nor will we be in a position to craft our shared future,” Maimane said.
“And so, from today, I will require our structures, at constituency, regional and provincial levels, to set targets for the recruitment and development of candidates for public office.”
“These targets, and the progress made towards achieving them, will be reviewed regularly by the Federal Executive,” the DA lead said.
He stated that the objective is to ensure that, by 2019, the party’s parliamentary and legislature caucuses, and decision-making structures at all levels, reflect the diversity of a ‘complex society’.
“And we will do it without resorting to dehumanising quotas that reduce human beings to statistics,” he stressed.
Maimane said that he will also introduce a policy document for adoption at the party’s Federal Council that sets out a vision for a fair South Africa.
It will contain a focused plan to overcome the structural inequalities that continue to divide the country.
“At its heart is the recognition that the majority of black South Africans remain locked out of opportunity. The policy identifies the key obstacles to redressing this inequality, including: our unequal education system, skewed patterns of land ownership, uneven access to justice and the concentration of capital in a few hands,” Maimane said.
“Ultimately, the only way to redress Apartheid’s legacy is to ensure that every child, no matter what their circumstances, has a fair chance to become the best they can be.”
This, the DA said, means Black Economic Empowerment that benefits poor black South Africans, and it means ensuring that black South Africans benefit from an efficient and sustainable land reform programme.
“It means a focus on spatial development that undoes the separate and unequal development of Apartheid. It means ensuring that all our children receive an education that prepares them to compete with anyone in the world. And it means building an inclusive and growing economy that creates jobs, so that all may prosper together,” Maimane said.