Democratic Alliance (South Africa)

Democratic Alliance (South Africa)
Democratic Alliance
Leader Helen Zille
Chairperson Wilmot James
Spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko
Federal Council Chairperson James Selfe
Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko
Slogan One Nation, One Future
Founded 24 June 2000 (2000-06-24)
Preceded by Democratic Party
Student wing DA Students Organisation
Youth wing DA Youth
Women's wing DA Women's Network
Ideology Social liberalism,
Liberal democracy,
Political position Fiscal: Center
Social: Center-left and Center-right
International affiliation Liberal International
Continental affiliation Africa Liberal Network
Official colours Blue
National Assembly seats
67 / 400
NCOP seats
13 / 90
NCOP delegations
1 / 9
Politics of South Africa
Political parties
South Africa

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) is a South African political party, the governing party in the Western Cape province, and the official opposition to the ruling African National Congress (ANC). The party traces its roots to the anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s, during which time it was known variously as the Progressive Party, the Progressive Reform Party, and the Progressive Federal Party. During this time, the party featured prominent anti-Apartheid activists such as Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin, Harry Schwarz and Frederik van Zyl Slabbert. During the 1990s the party was known as the Democratic Party, but was renamed to the Democratic Alliance, during a short-lived alliance with the New National Party (NNP) in 2000 - the NNP subsequently left to join the ANC. More recently, the party merged with the Independent Democrats, but retained its existing name.[1]

The present leader of the Democratic Alliance is former Cape Town mayor and Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille, who succeeded Tony Leon in May 2006 and won the title of World Mayor in 2008,[2] opted against moving to the National Assembly, where the party is instead led by Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Mazibuko leads a parliamentary caucus of 77 members—67 in the National Assembly, 10 in the National Council of Provinces—who also make up the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet. The Democratic Alliance's federal chairperson is Dr. Wilmot James, the chairperson of the party's federal executive is James Selfe and Lindiwe Mazibuko is the DA's national spokesperson. As of July 2010, Makashule Gana is the DA's Youth Leader, and Mbali Ntuli is the DA Youth Chairperson. Jonathan Moakes is the party's CEO.

The DA is broadly centrist, though it has been attributed both centre-left[3] and centre-right[4] policies. The party is a member of Liberal International and the Africa Liberal Network.



Although the Democratic Alliance in its present form is fairly new, its roots can be traced far back in South African political history, through a complex sequence of splits and mergers—starting with the creation of a South African Party in 1910. The modern day Democratic Alliance is in large part a product of the progressive anti-Apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s, during which time it was known variously as the Progressive Party and Reform Party, the Progressive Reform Party, and the Progressive Federal Party. During that time, the party was led by some of the most celebrated anti-apartheid activists, including Jan Steytler, Helen Suzman, Zach de Beer, Colin Eglin, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert and Harry Schwarz. For most of the 1990s, the party was known as the Democratic Party (DP), during which time it ascended to the status of official opposition under the leadership of Tony Leon.

Progressive Federal Party 1984 Election rally poster with prominent party leader Harry Schwarz

In 2000, the DP became the Democratic Alliance (DA) after merging with the New National Party. Though the alliance was short-lived—the NNP formed a new alliance with the African National Congress the following year—the DA secured 22% of the vote in the 2000 local government elections and an outright majority in the Cape Town unicity. Peter Marais became mayor of Cape Town, and the DA also took control of 20 local municipalities in the Western Cape. Following the NNP's defections, the party subsequently lost control of both Cape Town and the Western Cape province to the ANC. However, they regained control of Cape Town in the 2006 Local Government Elections—the only Metropolitan Council in South Africa not controlled by the ANC. Helen Zille was elected executive mayor on 15 March 2006 and formed a coalition with six smaller parties as the DA failed to win an outright majority in the council. Zille then succeeded Leon as leader of the party in May, after a landslide leadership victory. Zille's subsequent successes as mayor led to her being awarded the 2008 World Mayor Prize.[2][5]

A new-look logo and party vision were adopted at the DA relaunch in late 2008.

As Zille opted to remain as mayor of Cape Town as well as adopt the position of leader of the DA, it was decided that another DA member would be required to represent Zille and the party in the National Assembly. Following a vote which was mainly contested between former NNP MP, Tertius Delport and Sandra Botha, Botha triumphed. Botha served as parliamentary leader until announcing her retirement from party politics in January 2009.[6] Following the 2009 general elections, the vacant parliamentary leadership post was won by Eastern Cape provincial leader Athol Trollip, who narrowly defeated party CEO Ryan Coetzee in the vote.


On 15 November 2008, the DA convened a meeting on Constitution Hill to re-launch the party as one which no longer acts as an opposition but offers voters another choice for government. Along with this, the party also introduced a new logo, featuring a rising sun over the colours of the South African flag and a new slogan, "One Nation, One Future." This is in line with the new strategy the party is implementing with regard to a non-racial South Africa where everyone has equal opportunities.[7][8] The logo bears striking similarites to the campaign logo of then-U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who had been elected President days before the re-launch. Obama was the first person of African descent to become president-elect and President of the United States. Party leader, Helen Zille said the new DA would be “more reflective of our rich racial, linguistic and cultural heritage”.[9] Zille has emphasised that she wants the party to be a "party for all the people" and not decline into a "shrinking, irrelevant minority".[10]

Ideology and principles

The Democratic Alliance sums up its political philosophy as the belief in an "Open Opportunity Society for All".[11] Party leader Helen Zille has argued that this stands in direct contrast to the ruling ANC's approach to governance, which she maintains has led to a "closed, crony society for some".[12] This formed the basis of the philosophy underlying the party's 2009 Election Manifesto,[13] which seeks to build a society by linking outcomes to "opportunity, effort and ability":

In such a society, everybody has the opportunities and the space to shape their own lives, improve their skills and follow their dreams. The government’s key role is to expand and promote equal opportunities for all. People are not held back by arbitrary criteria such as gender, religion, or colour, or the prejudice of those in power. In the open, opportunity society, outcomes are linked to opportunity, effort and ability, not special favours dispensed by a ruling clique in the ruling party.[14]

The Democratic Alliance's historical roots are broadly liberal-democratic. Between 1961 and 1974, the party's predecessor, the Progressive Party, was represented in parliament by a single MP, Helen Suzman, whose vocal opposition to racial discrimination and the apartheid regime led to the party being accused frequently of supporting a leftist agenda.

During the 1990s, the party remained associated with liberal values, though party leader Tony Leon's support for the reintroduction of the death penalty, the party's controversial 1999 campaign slogan "Fight Back", and the short-lived alliance with the right-wing New National Party fuelled criticisms of the party from the left.[15][16][17] After Helen Zille's victory in the party's 2006 leadership race, and the ANC's nomination of populist candidate Jacob Zuma for the presidency, the DA has attempted to reposition itself as a mainstream alternative to the ANC as it shifts away from the free market and anti-racialism.[18] The party's economic policy is also broadly centrist, and supports a mix of high spending on crucial social services such as education and health care, a basic income grant, and a strong regulatory framework, with more "moderate" policies such as a lower budget deficit and a deregulated labour market.[19] At her 2009 State of the Province speech, party leader Zille described her party's economic policy as pragmatic:

"We believe the state has a crucial role to play in socio-economic development. We are not free market fundamentalists. By the same token we do not believe that a state, with limited capacity, should over-reach itself."[20]

Current policies


The Democratic Alliance has targeted the ruling ANC's performance on tackling crime and corruption. In the party's crime plan, "Conquering Fear, Commanding Hope",[21] the DA committed themselves to increasing the number of police officers to 250,000. This is 60,000 more than the government's own target.[22] The party also announced plans to employ 30,000 additional detectives and forensics experts and 500 more prosecutors, in order to reduce court backlogs, and establish a Directorate for Victims of Crime, which would provide funding and support for crime victims.

In addition, the party announced its support for a prison labour programme, which would put prisoners to work in various community upliftment programmes. The proposal was criticised by labour unions, who believed it was unethical and would result in labour job losses.[23]

In late 2008 and early 2009, the DA took a stand against the South African Police Service's VIP Protection Unit, after several officers in the unit were charged with serious criminal offences. The party later released documentation of the unit's poor disciplinary record, and claimed its divisional commander had himself dodged serious criminal charges.[24]

The DA also strongly opposed the disbandment of the Scorpions crime investigation unit,[25] and similar efforts to centralise the police service such as the nationwide disbandment of specialised Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.[26]

Social development

Central to the Democratic Alliance's social development policy, "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty",[27] is a Basic Income Grant, which would provide a monthly transfer of R110 to all adults earning less than R46,000 per year. The party also supports legislation that would require the legal guardians of children living in poverty to ensure that their child attends 85 percent of school classes, and undergoes routine health checkups.

In addition, to aid with youth development skills, the party proposed a R6000 opportunity voucher or twelve month community service programme to all high school matriculants. The party also supports a universal old age pension, and the abolishment of pension means tests.


The DA's education programme, "Preparing for Success",[28] focuses on providing adequate physical and human resources to underperforming schools. Included in this proposal would be guaranteed access to a core minimum of resources for each school, proper state school nutrition schemes for grade 1-12 learners, and the introduction of measures to train 30,000 additional teachers per year. The DA continues to support the introduction of new performance targets for teachers and schools, and also advocates a per-child wage subsidy, and a national network of community-based early childhood education centres.


The DA's "Quality Care for All"[29] programme is focused on tackling the country's high HIV/AIDS infection rate. Included in these plans is an increase in the number of clinics offering HIV testing and measures to provide all HIV-positive women with Nevirapine. The party's health policy also plans to devote more resources to vaccinations against common childhood illnesses.

The party also advocates creating a transparent and competitive health sector, to boost service delivery and encourage health care practitioners to remain in the country.


The party’s economic policy aims to create a society in which all South Africans enjoy both the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and the opportunities to take advantage of those freedoms. In its 2010 Federal Congress booklet, 'The Open Opportunity Society for All', the party describes this society in the following terms:

Opportunity is the vehicle with which people are empowered to live their lives, pursue their dreams and develop their full potential. And the DA believes that the role of the government is to provide every citizen with a minimum basic standard of quality services and resources with which to be able to do so - a framework for choice... In the opportunity society, a young girl from a dusty township must have a fair chance of overcoming poverty and developing her talents by matching her opportunities with hard work and personal responsibility. It must be possible for a young boy, living in a child-headed household in a poverty-stricken rural village, to become a captain of industry. That is what the opportunity society means.

The DA's economic policy therefore advocates a mixed-economy approach, where the state is involved in the economy only to the extent that it can expand opportunity and choice. In its 2009 election manifesto, the party states:

We see a future in which the government and the private sector work together in partnership to grow an economy ripe with opportunities for all South Africans, most especially for the millions of unemployed South Africans who have been denied access to jobs and life changing opportunities.[30]

The manifesto includes various proposals detailing how a Democratic Alliance government would manage the economy and facilitate growth. The majority of the interventions suggested by the party are aimed at creating an atmosphere conducive to job creation and greater foreign direct investment:

Cutting the cost of doing business and creating jobs

The party has suggested measures to make South Africa's labour market more amenable to job creation.[31] The party has also suggested several targeted interventions to allow for higher employment, especially amongst the youth. These interventions include a wage subsidy programme to reduce the cost of hiring first-time workers and a nationwide "opportunity voucher" for school leavers. This would amount to an annual subsidy for every school-leaver of up to R2000 for three years. The money could be used to finance studies, training or micro-enterprises.

Fiscal Policy

The party has committed itself to a counter-cyclical fiscal policy approach. This is evident in the party's previous alternative budget frameworks, with both alternative budgets posting deficits. The party defended this stance by arguing that increased spending was necessary to help the economy out of recession. [32] Other fiscal interventions have included a proposed scrapping of value added tax (VAT) on books and tax rebates for crime prevention expenditure by businesses.

Monetary Policy

The party has committed itself to an inflation-targeting monetary policy regime similar to that of the currently-ruling African National Congress (ANC) government. It has also repeatedly made statements reaffirming its support and commitment for reserve bank instrument independence.[33] The party has also suggested interventions to incentivize savings by reducing taxes on income earned from fixed deposits that are held for longer than twelve months. The party states that this would help South Africa to boost its domestic savings rate to enable the country to invest in projects that will provide additional job opportunities.

Broad-Based Economic Empowerment

The party has rejected the ANC’s approach to Black Economic Empowerment, with party leader, Helen Zille, making the case that the current set of policies have only served to enrich a small elite of politically-connected businessmen. The party proposed an alternative it calls broad-based economic empowerment, which would provide for targeted interventions focusing on skills training and socio-economic investment instead of ownership targets. The party believes that this approach will give a broader group of black South Africans an opportunity to compete and partake in the economy, as opposed to the relatively small number of people it says are currently being advantaged by BEE deals.[34]

Industrial Policy

The party advocates an active industrial policy that allow the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to co-ordinate industrial policy. Additionally it would also set up a sovereign venture capital fund to help support innovation in key industries. The DA also supports the creation of Industrial Development Zones and Export Processing Zones. The party suggests that by relaxing certain regulations in these zones, manufacturers and exporters would be able to grow faster and employ more people. This fits into the party's broader vision of growing the economy by cutting red tape and regulations it claims is holding back South Africa's economic growth.[35]


The DA's "Land of Opportunity"[36] programme supports the 'willing buyer, willing seller' principle, though it also allows for expropriation for reform purposes in certain limited circumstances. The party has been critical of the resources that government has allocated to land reform, claiming that government has not been sufficiently active in buying up land that comes onto the market. Though the DA believes this could speed up the pace of land reform, their policies have been vocally criticised by members of the Tripartite Alliance. Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza accused the DA of attempting to "stifle" land reform,[37] while the South African Communist Party contended that the DA's policies overly favoured big business.[38]

Environment and energy

In the build up to the 2009 elections, the DA announced it would create a new Ministry of Energy and Climate Change, to ensure improved integrated energy planning in order to deal with South Africa's growing carbon dioxide emissions.[39] The DA's 2009 environment and energy plan, "In Trust for the Nation"[40] also proposes new measures to increase energy efficiency, and the introduction of sectoral carbon emission targets.

The DA also proposes reforms to the energy sector that would see Eskom's designation as the single buyer of electricity revoked, thereby attracting greater investment and a more efficient energy market.

Electoral reform

The DA broadly supports reforms recommended by Frederik van Zyl Slabbert's electoral reform task-team, that would see the current party list voting system replaced by a 75% constituency-based/25% proportional representation-based electoral system that would apply at national and provincial level.[41] The DA's governance policy Promoting Open Opportunity Governance[42] also makes allowance for the direct election of the president, which would give voters a more direct link to the executive branch.

The party is also currently lobbying for voting rights for South African citizens living abroad. Party leader Zille raised the issue with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman, Brigalia Bam. Zille has proposed that franchise be extended to overseas-based South Africans beyond Section 33(1)(e) of the Electoral Act, which currently limits overseas voting to South African citizens abroad temporarily, for purposes of a holiday, a business trip, attending a tertiary institution, or participating in an international sports event. The DA believe voting rights should be extended to include all South African citizens who are living and working abroad, many of whom intend returning.[43][44]

In January 2008 the IEC indicated that they would not take measures to allow citizens living abroad to vote in the 2009 national and provincial elections. On 23 January 2009, the DA lodged an application at the Western Cape High Court to have section 33(1)(e) of the Electoral Act, which differentiates between the special voting rights of citizens abroad, declared unconstitutional.[45]

2009 General Elections


The Democratic Alliance chose 'Vote to Win' as its 2009 campaign slogan, and subsequently won an outright majority in the Western Cape province.

The Democratic Alliance launched its 2009 General Election campaign on 31 January 2009, in Soweto, unveiling a campaign slogan, "Vote to Win" at the launch. It released its manifesto on 14 February.[46] It was at that stage still finalising its candidates for public office and the positions of premiers, mayors and president.[47]

The party was expected to perform strongly in the Western Cape province, with analysts suggesting it would regain control of the province from the ruling ANC.[48] The ANC's support in the province was on the wane, while the Democratic Alliance had performed well in by-elections in the province leading up to the poll.[49]

The Sunday Times published a poll on 28 September 2008, detailing the strong urban support that the party now holds. The survey of 1,500 city dwellers found that 27 per cent would vote for the ruling ANC, while 26 per cent would vote for the DA and 27 per cent were undecided. The newly-formed Cope gained less than 1 per cent.[50]

The party projected that it would govern in the Western Cape province—a task made easier by the ANC-COPE split—though it expected to need to form a governing coalition in order to do so.[47][51] and by late 2008 there was speculation that Zille would run as the DA's candidate for provincial premier.[52] The party anticipates that it will take control of several other major cities and towns in the 2011 local elections, and, with what it terms a "realignment of SA politics", predicts it will take its "winning streak" into the 2014 elections, when it plans to challenge for the mantle of ruling party.[47][53] It did not, however, rule out its tiny chance of usurping the ANC as ruling party in the 2009 elections. "This year, the DA can win!" Zille told supporters at its campaign launch at the end of January.[47]

Democratic Alliance supporters at the party's final campaign rally in Mitchell's Plain.

The Democratic Alliance's relationship with newly-formed ANC breakaway party Cope has been relatively strong. Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota showed a willingness to co-operate with Zille in future, and reports suggested that the two parties might work in tandem to win several provinces in 2009.[54][55] More recently, however, Zille criticised COPE's internal structures and suggested many of the party's new members were merely Mbeki loyalists hoping to resurrect defunct political careers.[56]

In the closing stages of the DA's campaign, it launched its "Stop Zuma" drive, which came under considerable criticism in the press—political analysts dubbing the tactic an example of "negative" politics. Zille later retorted, however, that what was really negative was the idea of handing over the right to change the Constitution unilaterally to Jacob Zuma and his "closed, crony network", as they would abuse that right both to enrich themselves and to protect themselves from prosecution. "They have already shown how they will abuse their power," she wrote, "by scrapping the Scorpions, firing Vusi Pikoli and securing the withdrawal of charges of 783 counts of corruption against Jacob Zuma."[57]


Proportion of votes cast for the DA in the 2009 election, by ward.

The DA produced its best results ever at the polls, scoring almost a million new voters to take its nationwide tally from 1,931,201 to just under 3,000,000, a growth of 50 per cent. This made it the only party in South Africa to have grown in all three of the most recent elections. Thanking supporters the following week,[58] Zille related proudly that the party had achieved all three of its primary objectives: it had kept the ANC below a two-thirds majority (albeit only just), won an outright majority in the Western Cape (the first time any party had done so in post-apartheid South Africa)[59] and significantly improved its standing in parliament, taking twenty more seats in the National Assembly; it thus has now 67 MPs and is to be allocated another ten seats on the National Council of Provinces.[60] It was, indeed, the only party in the entire country to increase rather than lose overall support since the 2004 elections.[61]

Zille noted that the DA's increased representation in Parliament came largely at the ANC's expense, and that "with 65.9% of the vote and 264 seats in the National Assembly (down from 74.3% and 297 seats), the ANC no longer has the two-thirds majority it needs to change the Constitution unilaterally." She claimed that the decline in the ANC's support base and the concomitant increase in that of her own party was:

...a direct result of the DA's drive to "Stop Zuma". When we launched that drive, in the final weeks of the campaign, several analysts and commentators cried foul. They accused the DA of "negative" campaigning and—outrageously and illogically—racism.[62] Some said that the ANC would not change the Constitution because it had not done so in the past. They ignored the fact that in the same week we launched our "Stop Zuma" campaign, the government gazetted a constitutional amendment designed to erode the powers of municipalities and concentrate even more power at national government level.

Fortunately, the DA does not let analysts dictate our election strategy. If we did, we would never have made the leap from 1.7% of the vote in 1994 to the 16.7% we have today. The ANC might even have Julius Malema's much coveted "three-thirds" majority by now.

These are the same analysts who smugly proclaim that the DA is a "white party", despite all the evidence to the contrary: our belief in non-racialism, our racially diverse leadership, our multiracial membership and our ongoing efforts to transcend race and enable all South Africans who share our values to give us their support. They fail to explain how a "white party" can win a majority in a province where less than 25% of the population is white. And of course, they never agonise about the fact that the ANC has become a "single race" party.[60]

The DA also increased its support in eight of the nine provinces in South Africa, taking its total number of seats in provincial legislatures from 51 in 2004 to 65 in 2009. Zille saw the results as a vindication of the party's statement at the beginning of its campaign that the only two genuine political forces in South Africa were the DA and the ANC, with the latter losing support while the former consistently gained it, and voters refusing to waste their ballots on small, insignificant parties.[60]

Post-election vision

Although ardently opposed to the notion that the DA represents only the white contingent of the South African electorate, Zille conceded that

[O]ur greatest challenge going forward is to win more support from black South Africans. We will continue to work towards this objective with renewed determination and we will eventually succeed, regardless of what the analysts say.[63]

The Western Cape victory, she wrote, gave the party:

...the opportunity to demonstrate in provincial government the difference that our alternative vision, principles and policies make in practice, for everyone—just as we have demonstrated where we have won at local government level. Winning power in the Western Cape will allow us to show what co-operative governance between local authorities and a province can achieve.[60]

She described the party's plans for South Africa's "political realignment" (which began in 2006, when it took Cape Town and other local authorities in the Western Cape, and which it aimed to culminate in 2014 with an outright national majority) as going ahead smoothly. For the time being, a note of congratulation was granted Zuma and the ANC, with an acknowledgement that the people had given it a strong mandate to rule. "We trust that the ANC will not abuse this confidence, and will govern well and in the interests of all South Africans."[60]


Leaders of the Democratic Alliance, and its predecessor parties:

Entered office Left office Party name
1 Jan Steytler 1 November 1959 December 1970 Progressive Party
2 Harry Lawrence2 December 1970 February 1971
3 Harry Schwarz 3 February 1975 July 1975
3 Colin Eglin4 February 1971 July 1975
July 1975 1977 Progressive Reform Party
1977 1979 Progressive Federal Party
4 Frederik van Zyl Slabbert 1979 1986
5 Colin Eglin 1986 1988
6 Zach de Beer 1988 1989
7,8 Zach de Beer, Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan5 1989 1994 Democratic Party
9 Tony Leon 1994 2000
2000 May 2007 Democratic Alliance
10 Helen Zille6 May 2007 present
  • 1 Between 1961 and 1970, Steytler served as party leader from outside Parliament, where Helen Suzman was the party's sole representative.
  • 2 Interim leader.
  • 3 Schwarz was leader of the Reform Party that broke away from the United Party and which merged with the Progressive Party. He was not ever leader of the Progressive Party itself, although he became part of the collective leadership of the newly-merged Progressive Reform Party.
  • 4 First Progressive Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (from 1977).
  • 5 Co-leaders, following the formation of the Democratic Party in 1989.
  • 6 Zille, like Steytler and Lawrence, serves as leader from outside of Parliament, where she is represented by a separate Parliamentary Leader - first Sandra Botha, and then later Athol Trollip.

Parliamentary Leaders

Parliamentary leaders of the Democratic Alliance and its predecessor parties, in the absence of a sitting party leader in Parliament:

On behalf of Entered office Left office Party name
1 Sandra Botha Helen Zille May 2007 April 2008 Democratic Alliance
2 Athol Trollip May 2008 October 2011
3 Lindiwe Mazibuko October 2011 Present


Federal chairpersons (sometimes referred to as 'national chairpersons') and chairpersons of the party's federal council (sometimes referred to as the party's 'federal executive' or the 'national council'):

Federal (National) Chairperson Years Party name Chairperson of the Federal Council
1 Harry Lawrence 1959–1963 Progressive Party 1 Zach de Beer
1963–1971 2 Colin Eglin
1971–1973 3 Ray Swart
2 Ray Swart 1973–1975
1975–1977 Progressive Reform Party 4 Harry Schwarz
1977–1979 Progressive Federal Party
3 Colin Eglin 1979–1980 5 Gordon Waddell
1980–1986 6 Alex Boraine
4 Peter Gastrow 1986–1987 7 Ken Andrew
5 Helen Suzman 1987–1989
6 Tian van der Merwe 1989–1991 Democratic Party 8 Dave Gant
7 Ken Andrew 1991–1997
8 Errol Moorcroft 1997–2000 9 Douglas Gibson
9 Joe Seremane 2000–2010 Democratic Alliance 10 James Selfe
10 Wilmot James 2010–present

Chief Executive Officers

Chief executive officers of the Democratic Alliance:

Started Ended
1 Ryan Coetzee November 2004 July 2009
2 Jonathan Moakes July 2009 incumbent

Electoral performance

This chart shows electoral performance for the Democratic Alliance, and its predecessor the Democratic Party, since the advent of democracy in 1994:

Election Total votes Share of votes Seats Party Leader Notes
1994 338,426 1.73% 7 Zach de Beer ANC victory
1999 1,527,337 9.56% 38 Tony Leon ANC victory; DP becomes official opposition
2004 1,931,201 12.37% 50 Tony Leon ANC victory; DA retains official opposition status
2009 2,945,829 16.66% 67 Helen Zille ANC victory; DA retains official opposition status and wins Western Cape province

Democratic Alliance Youth

The Democratic Alliance Youth, which came officially into being late in 2008, is led by Makashule Gana, who took over from Khume Ramulifho in 2010. The DA Youth national chairperson is Mbali Ntuli.[64] Hlanganani Gumbi and Rihan Kleyn are the DA Youth Federal Training and Development Chaiperson and the Media and Publicity Chairperson respectively.



In December 2007, a local DA councillor, Frank Martin, allegedly encouraged local families to occupy newly built N2 Gateway houses in Delft in the Western Cape. After over 1,000 backyarders from the area occupied the houses, a high profile political fight between ANC and DA leaders ensued, each accusing the other of racism, playing party politics, and using the poor for their own gain.[65][66] The ANC along with a number of civil society organisations such as the Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers accused the DA of either instigating or tacitly approving of Martin's role in the invasions.[67][68][69] Judge Van Zyl of the Cape Town High Court ruled to evict residents and also faulted Frank Martin for instigating the occupation.[70] Criminal charges against Martin were later dropped.[68][71][72] On 18 February 2009, a City of Cape Town disciplinary committee found Martin guilty of encouraging people to invade homes at Delft and was suspended for one month.[73] A further political spat ensued after February 2008 between the DA and the Delft-Symphony Anti-Eviction Campaign, which accused the DA of favouring its party supporters.[74][75] In response, Zille denied this, and pointed out that the City of Cape Town had responded to the crisis by providing comprehensive services to the Delft evictees.[76]

Xenophobic attacks

The DA and mayor Helen Zille drew criticism for their response to the 2008 xenophobic attacks in Cape Town.[77][78] In particular, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel accused Zille of "fanning the flames", by speaking out against foreign drug dealers while on a visit to Mitchell's Plain. Zille responded that she had been completely misquoted, and challenged Manuel to read newspaper transcripts of her speech.[79] Zille has also accused the ANC government of creating a dependancy culture lacking of economic development that has fuelled xenophobia.[80]

See also



External links


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  2. ^ a b "Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, wins the 2008 World Mayor Prize". World Mayor Award. 13 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Focus on Gordhan and Manuel, John Matisonn, 29 April 2009, "Many DA policies are to the left of Cope [itself a centre-left party]"
  4. ^ A critique of the Democratic Alliance, Frans Cronje, South African Institute of Race Relations, november 2008 " the DA whose centre-right position in South African politics could now face a credible challenge for the first time"
  5. ^ "SA mayor scoops 'world best' award". IOL. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Botha tight-lipped about her future". Primedia. 8 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "DA relaunches as 'party of government'". IOL. 15 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "DA relaunches in Johannesburg". SABC. 15 November 2008.,2172,179902,00.html. [dead link]
  9. ^ "‘Yes we can’, chant DA faithful". The Citizen. 16 November 2008.,1,22. 
  10. ^ "Zille: In for the long haul". Mail&Guardian. 20 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Our Visions and Values". DA. 20 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "Introductory letter by DA Leader, Helen Zille". DA. 14 November 2008. [dead link]
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "DA Manifesto 2009" (PDF). DA. 
  15. ^ "How DP came to Fight Back". 
  16. ^ "DA's death penalty stance irks De Lille". South African Press Association. 11 March 2004. 
  17. ^ "Tony Leon to step down as DA leader". 26 November 2006. 
  18. ^ "ANC's shift could spell trouble". 15 January 2009.,,2-7-12_2453609,00.html. 
  19. ^ "Ensuring South Africa’s prosperity in the face of the global economic crisis". 
  20. ^ "State of the Province Speech 2009". 
  21. ^ "Microsoft Word - CONQUERING FEAR II.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  22. ^ "DA promises to reinstate Narcotics Bureau". Cape Times. 12 August 2008. 
  23. ^ "DA's prison work plan is slavery with new name". Business Report. 15 August 2008. 
  24. ^ "Blue light bullies off the hook". 
  25. ^ "Opposition: Scorpions bill marks dark day in SA history". 
  26. ^ "How we can resource our agencies properly". 
  27. ^ "Microsoft Word - Breaking the cycle of poverty.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  28. ^ "Microsoft Word - Preparing for Success.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  29. ^ "Microsoft Word - Health review1.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  30. ^ "Our Policies: Economics". 
  31. ^ "New labour laws will kill jobs - Ian Ollis". 
  32. ^ "Alternative Budget 2010: Budgeting for Opportunity". 
  33. ^ "DA welcomes interest rates decision". 
  34. ^ "DA Economic Policy". 
  35. ^ "Job figures unrealistic". 
  36. ^ "Microsoft Word - Land reform - land of oppourtunity.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  37. ^ "DA's land reform plan shot down by Thoko Didiza" (PDF). Daily Dispatch. 2 December 2005. [dead link]
  38. ^ "SACP Statement on the DA's approach to land and agrarian reform". SACP. 1 December 2005. 
  39. ^ "DA Unveils Energy Policy". News24. 13 January 2009.,,2-13-1443_2452524,00.html. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ "DA proposes electoral reform ahead of next year's general elections". 
  42. ^
  43. ^ "S African Democratic Alliance to lobby for voting rights for S Africans abroad". China View. 21 November 2008. 
  44. ^ "IEC to consider overseas voting rights". The Times (South Africa). 21 November 2008. 
  45. ^ "DA initiates court action to enable South Africans living abroad to vote". 
  46. ^ "DA election launch in Soweto". News24. 15 January 2009.,,2-7-12_2453712,00.html. 
  47. ^ a b c d Terreblanche 2009.
  48. ^ "Minorities become important as polls loom". IOL. 7 September 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  49. ^ "DA: Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, on the party’s victory in the Western Cape by-elections". 
  50. ^ "New shock for ANC". Sunday Times (South Africa). 28 September 2008. 
  51. ^ "DA sets its sights on governing Western Cape". SABC. 12 November 2008. 
  52. ^ "Call for Zille to run for premier". IOL. 26 October 2008. 
  53. ^ "DA plans to rule SA from 2014". IOL. 11 November 2008. 
  54. ^ "Lekota open to DA Alliance". IOL. 19 November 2008. 
  55. ^ "Zille backs Lekota's views". IOL. 19 November 2008. 
  56. ^ "Zille slams COPE as a ploy to resurrect political careers". 10 January 2009. 
  57. ^ Zille, Helen. "Thank you for voting for change." SA Today, 1 May 2009.
  58. ^ At the end of her weekly newsletter, after thanking all DA members, canvassers and campaigners, she wrote, "I would also like to thank every DA voter. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for making the right choice. Thank you for standing up for real change in South Africa. Thank you for standing up for strong opposition and for a positive alternative. [...] You have helped us achieve this historic milestone. We will honour our commitments to you, and work tirelessly to reward your faith in the DA" (Zille 2009).
  59. ^ Even the ANC ruled only via coalition.
  60. ^ a b c d e Zille 2009.
  61. ^ See table at South African general election, 2009#National Assembly results.
  62. ^ She elaborated on this point later: "Unfortunately, it is an all too common phenomenon for some analysts to resort to the lazy, knee-jerk reaction that the DA is being 'racist' when we point out the dangers of too much power in too few hands. It doesn't matter whether those hands are black or white: the fact is that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of the power holders' skin colour." (Zille 2009.)
  63. ^ Continuing a lengthy broadside at political commentators, she noted that, "if this election has proved one thing, it is that analysts are wrong more often than they are right. In fact, when it comes to predicting results, many of them get it wrong in every election without ever admitting their mistakes, let alone being embarrassed about them. The same analysts who predicted (wrongly) that the DA would lose support in 2004 claimed that the DA would go backwards last Wednesday, and lose its status as the official opposition to COPE." According to the vote, indeed, the DA is more than double the size of the ANC splinter group. (Zille 2009).
  64. ^ "Federal Congress: DA Youth elects new leadership". 
  65. ^ "Western Cape Evictions trial on hold". Labournet. 8 January 2008. 
  66. ^ "DA councillor in court over Delft housing incident". Mail & Guardian. 21 December 2008. 
  67. ^ "Western Cape govt mulls lawsuit over Delft". M&G. 
  68. ^ a b "DA councillor's role in Delft is 'criminal'". Cape Argus. 20 February 2008. 
  69. ^ "Squatters to defy council". Sowetan. 
  70. ^ "High Court case Minister of Housing Western Cape vs Various Unlawful Occupiers". Legal Brief. 
  71. ^ "Frank Martin freed-for now".,,2-7-12_2339627,00.html. 
  72. ^ "DA's Delft councillor denies claims". Cape Argus. 28 February 2008. 
  73. ^ DA councillor found guilty IOL
  74. ^ "Delft homeless are now being evicted from their tents!". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 
  75. ^ "Eviction battle fuels election race". Anti-Eviction Campaign. 
  76. ^ "Speech by Helen Zille". 
  77. ^ Kaplan, Kenneth (15 June 2008). "In Cape Town, hopes dim as progress lags". Boston Globe. 
  78. ^ "Shattered Myths: The xenophobic violence in South Africa". Pambazuka News. 3 July 2008. 
  79. ^ "A revolution of rising expectations". 

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