Democratic Alliance (South Africa)
|Deputy Chairperson||Ivan Meyer|
|Parliamentary Leader||Mmusi Maimane|
|Slogan||"One Nation. One Future."|
|Founded||June 24, 2000|
|Preceded by||Democratic Party|
|Student wing||Democratic Alliance Students Organisation|
|Youth wing||Democratic Alliance Youth|
|Women's wing||Democratic Alliance Women's Network|
|Overseas Supporters Network||Democratic Alliance Abroad|
|Ideology||Liberalism (South Africa)|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|Continental affiliation||Africa Liberal Network|
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|Pan African Parliament||
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|SADC Parliamentary Forum||
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|Politics of South Africa
The Democratic Alliance (Afrikaans: Demokratiese Alliansie, DA) is a South African political party and the official opposition to the governing African National Congress (ANC). The present leader is Mmusi Maimane who succeeded former Mayor of Cape Town and Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille on 10 May 2015. The DA is broadly centrist, though it has been attributed both centre-left and centre-right policies. The party is a member of the Liberal International and the Africa Liberal Network. It traces its roots to the founding of the anti-apartheid Progressive Party in 1959, with many mergers and name changes between that time and the present. The party adopted its current name on 24 June 2000. Most recently, the party has integrated the smaller Independent Democrats and the tiny South African Democratic Convention.
The DA has been the governing party of the Western Cape Province, one of South Africa's nine provinces, since the 2009 general election, having won a bigger majority at the most recent election in 2014. It is the only party to have increased its share of the vote in every national election held since 1994, and currently has 22.23% electoral support. The party is mainly supported by minority voters.
- 1 History
- 2 Ideology and principles
- 3 Current policies
- 4 2009 general election
- 5 2014 general election
- 6 Leaders
- 7 Electoral Performance
- 8 Democratic Alliance Youth
- 9 Democratic Alliance Women's Network
- 10 Democratic Alliance Abroad
- 11 Democratic Alliance Young Leaders Programme
- 12 Criticism
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
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. The modern day Democratic Alliance is in large part a product of 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 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. The origin of the party can be traced to the mid 1950s when some younger members of the United Party, such as Suzman and Eglin, felt that their party was not providing strong enough opposition to the governing National Party and its policy of Apartheid. This led to them to break away and form the Progressive Party in 1959. For many years the party was very much in the shadow of the larger parties, with Suzman as its only MP, but a surge in support in the 1970s led it to become the official opposition. As the United Party ultimately disintegrated, the progressives accepted many UP splinter groups into its fold, causing the name to change several times. It eventually emerged as the Progressive Federal Party. In the 1990s, when democracy had been achieved, the party was known as the Democratic Party (DP). It faired relatively poorly in the first democratic election in 1994 but eventually rose from relative obscurity and ascended to the status of official opposition in 1999 under the leadership of Tony Leon, mainly by taking votes away from the New National Party. The NNP had as its forerunner the party of the architects of apartheid, the National Party.
In 2000, the DP was renamed Democratic Alliance in preparation for a planned merger with the NNP and the much smaller Federal Alliance (FA) that was to be completed by the time of the 2004 general election. NNP members ran as DA candidates in the 2000 local government elections, in which the party secured 22% of the vote 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. The alliance was short-lived however, and the NNP formed a new alliance with the ANC the following year. The FA also later left the DA. Many former NNP members, along with most of the party's voter base, remained with the DA however and the new name was kept. 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.
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. 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. In 2011, Trollip was beaten in his re-election bid by the party's former national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko. She served in the position until may 2014 when she left to study at Harvard, at which point Mmusi Maimane was elected as the new parliamentary leader.
In 2015, he also succeeded Helen Zille as the national leader of the party.
Formation and mergers
- 1959 – Progressive Party breaks away from United Party.
- 1975 – Progressive Party merges with Harry Schwarz's Reform Party, to form Progressive Reform Party.
- 1977 – Progressive Reform Party merges the Committee for a United Opposition, to form the Progressive Federal Party.
- 1989 – PFP merges with Denis Worrall's Independent Party and National Democratic Party, to form Democratic Party.
- 2000 – Democratic Party merges with New National Party and the Federal Alliance, to form Democratic Alliance.
- 2010 – Democratic Alliance absorbs Patricia de Lille's Independent Democrats.
- 2011 – Democratic Alliance absorbs Ziba Jiyane's South African Democratic Convention.
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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. The logo bears striking similarities 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”. Zille has emphasised that she wants the party to be a "party for all the people" and not decline into a "shrinking, irrelevant minority".
Ideology and principles
||This section contains content that is written like an advertisement. (April 2014)|
The Democratic Alliance sums up its political philosophy as the belief in an "Open Opportunity Society for All". 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". This formed the basis of the philosophy underlying the party's 2009 Election Manifesto, 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.||”|
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. 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. 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. 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."||”|
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", 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. 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.
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.
The DA also strongly opposed the disbandment of the Scorpions crime investigation unit, and similar efforts to centralise the police service such as the nationwide disbandment of specialised Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.
Central to the Democratic Alliance's social development policy, "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty", 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 check-ups.
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", 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" 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.||”|
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. 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.
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. Other fiscal interventions have included a proposed scrapping of value added tax (VAT) on books and tax rebates for crime prevention expenditure by businesses.
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. The party has also suggested interventions to incentivise 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 former 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.
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.
The DA's "Land of Opportunity" 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, while the South African Communist Party contended that the DA's policies overly favoured big business.
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. The DA's 2009 environment and energy plan, "In Trust for the Nation" 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.
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. The DA's governance policy Promoting Open Opportunity Governance 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.
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.
2009 general election
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. It was at that stage still finalising its candidates for public office and the positions of premiers, mayors and president.
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. 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.
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.
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. and by late 2008 there was speculation that Zille would run as the DA's candidate for provincial premier. 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. 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.
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 the future, and reports suggested that the two parties might work in tandem to win several provinces in 2009. 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.
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."
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, 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) and significantly improved its standing in parliament, taking twenty more seats in the National Assembly; it now has 67 MPs and is to be allocated another ten seats on the National Council of Provinces. It was the only party in the entire country to increase rather than lose overall support since the 2004 elections.
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. 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.
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.
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.||”|
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.||”|
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."
2014 general election
Relationship with Mamphela Ramphele
A new party Agang South Africa was formed in 2013 by anti-apartheid icon Mamphela Ramphele. In January 2014, the DA announced that Ramphele had accepted an invitation to stand as its presidential candidate in the 2014 general election, and the DA and Agang South Africa were set to merge. Three days after the announcement, Ramphele stated that she would not take up DA party membership and would remain the leader of Agang South Africa, resulting in confusion. Two days after this, Helen Zille stated that Ramphele had reneged on her agreement to stand as the DA's presidential candidate. Ramphele subsequently apologised for the reversal of her decision, saying that the timing was not right as the reaction to it had shown people were unable to overcome race-based party politics.
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|
|6||Zach de Beer||1988||1989|
|7,8||Zach de Beer, Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan5||1989||1994||Democratic Party|
|2000||May 2007||Democratic Alliance|
|10||Helen Zille6||May 2007||May 9 20157|
|11||Mmusi Maimane||May 10 2015||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, then Athol Trollip, Lindiwe Mazibuko and Mmusi Maimane.
- 7 Zille announced on Sunday 12 April 2015 that she would not seek reelection at the party's national conference on May 9 2015.
Parliamentary leaders of the Democratic Alliance and its predecessor parties, in the absence of a sitting party leader in Parliament:
|Parliamentary leader||On behalf of||Entered office||Left office||Party name|
|Helen Suzman||Jan Steytler (1961–1970)||October 1961||April 1974||Progressive|
|Harry Lawrence (1970–1971)|
|Colin Eglin (1971–1974)|
|Sandra Botha||Helen Zille||May 2007||April 2009||Democratic Alliance|
|Athol Trollip||May 2009||October 2011|
|Lindiwe Mazibuko||October 2011||May 2014|
|Mmusi Maimane||May 2014||May 2015|
|Mmusi Maimane||May 2015||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|
|1975–1977||Progressive Reform Party||4||Harry Schwarz|
|1977–1979||Progressive Federal Party|
|3||Colin Eglin||1979–1980||5||Gordon Waddell|
|4||Peter Gastrow||1986–1987||7||Ken Andrew|
|6||Tian van der Merwe||1989–1991||Democratic Party||8||Dave Gant|
|8||Errol Moorcroft||1997–2000||9||Douglas Gibson|
|9||Joe Seremane||2000–2010||Democratic Alliance||10||James Selfe|
Chief Executive Officers
Chief executive officers of the Democratic Alliance:
|1||Ryan Coetzee||November 2004||July 2009|
|2||Jonathan Moakes||July 2009||Dec 2014|
|3||Paul Boughey||Jan 2015||Incumbent|
These charts show the electoral performance for the Democratic Alliance, and its predecessor the Democratic Party, since the advent of democracy in 1994:
National Parliamentary Election Results
|Election year||Total votes||Share of vote||Seats||+/–||Government|
7 / 400
38 / 400
50 / 400
67 / 400
89 / 400
National Council of Provinces
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
3 / 90
8 / 90
12 / 90
13 / 90
20 / 90
Provincial Legislature Election Results
|Election||Eastern Cape||Free State||Gauteng||Kwazulu-Natal||Limpopo||Mpumalanga||North-West||Northern Cape||Western Cape|
Municipal Election Results
Democratic Alliance Youth
The Democratic Alliance Youth (DA Youth), which came officially into being late in 2008, was led by Mbali Ntuli between 2013 and 2014. She took over from Makashule Gana in May 2013. The DA Youth national chairperson is Yusuf Cassim. Tertus Simmers and Thorne Godinho are the DA Youth Federal Training and Development Chaiperson and the Media and Publicity Chairperson respectively. As of August 2014, Yusuf Cassim is the interim DA Youth Leader.
Democratic Alliance Women's Network
The Democratic Alliance Women's Network (DAWN), promotes the empowerment and development of women and is led by Denise Robinson, MP.
Democratic Alliance Abroad
The Democratic Alliance Abroad (DA Abroad) was officially launched in November 2009. As a network for Democratic Alliance supporters living overseas, the DA Abroad is led by Global Chairperson Ludre Stevens, General Secretary Francine Higham and President Nigel Bruce.
The DA Abroad has active hubs in the United Kingdom, United States, UAE, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Namibia, China and South Korea.
Democratic Alliance Young Leaders Programme
The DA’s Young Leaders Programme (YLP) is a political leadership development programme for South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35 who believe in the DA’s vision of the Open, Opportunity Society for All. Participants of the programme are highly motivated individuals, interested in pursuing a career in politics, with a track record of leadership excellence. Over the course of one year, participants of the programme are equipped with an in-depth political knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills and the opportunity to grow their leadership capacity, self-awareness and emotional maturity.
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. 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. Judge Van Zyl of the Cape Town High Court ruled to evict residents and also faulted Frank Martin for instigating the occupation. Criminal charges against Martin were later dropped. 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. 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. 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.
The DA and mayor Helen Zille drew criticism for their response to the 2008 xenophobic attacks in Cape Town. 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. Zille has also accused the ANC government of creating a dependency culture lacking of economic development that has fuelled xenophobia.
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- 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).
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- 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.)
- 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).
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Zille said that the two parties were establishing a 'joint technical committee to manage the integration of the DA and Agang SA structures and volunteers'.
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Dr Ramphele said she believed the merger was a historic moment
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