Gavin Davis

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Gavin Davis
Member of Parliament
Gavin Davis portrait.jpg
Shadow Minister of Basic Education
Assumed office
Leader Helen Zille
Preceded by Annette Lovemore
Personal details
Nationality South African
Political party Democratic Alliance

Gavin Davis (born 3 August 1977) is a South African politician and communications professional. He is currently a Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa's official opposition.


Davis matriculated from Pinelands High School in Cape Town in 1995. He holds Honours and Masters degrees in politics from Rhodes University and the University of Cape Town.[1] His interests include education, electoral systems and campaigning, media and elections, public broadcasting, social media and liberalism in South African politics.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Career in Politics[edit]

Davis joined the DA as a Researcher in 2004 and was later appointed Chief of Staff in the Leader's Office. After a stint as a Special Advisor to the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille,[10] Davis was appointed Executive Director of Communications for the DA in 2011.[11]

As the DA's Executive Director of Communications, Davis was instrumental in the party's successful integration of traditional and digital marketing techniques.[12] The party's 2013 'anonymous' anti-etolling billboard and accompanying social media campaign was pioneering in this regard.[13]

Davis was central to a number of campaigns that sought to broaden the DA's appeal beyond its traditional support base. This included the 2013 'Know Your DA' campaign[14] and the 2014 election campaign which began with a controversial protest march against unemployment outside the headquarters of the African National Congress in Johannesburg.[15]

In 2014, Davis was placed ninth on the DA's list of Western Cape candidates for the National Assembly.[16] In May 2014, Davis was elected by the DA caucus to serve as a Whip.[17] In the same month, Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane appointed Davis to the position of Shadow Minister of Communications.[18]

In July 2014, Davis initiated a parliamentary inquiry into allegations that SABC Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala had lied to Parliament about her qualifications when she applied for a position on the SABC Board. The inquiry eventually found Tshabalala guilty of misconduct and perjury, and recommended her removal from the Board. Tshabalala resigned before she could be formally removed on 17 December 2014.[19]

On 3 October 2015, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane appointed Davis as Shadow Minister of Basic Education.[20]


  1. ^ People's Assembly
  2. ^ 'Khayelitsha: an unfolding success story, Good Governance Africa, September 2013
  3. ^ 'Silent Majority: a crisis is brewing in basic education, Daily Maverick, 27 October 2015
  4. ^ 'Proportional Representation and Racial Campaigning in South Africa', Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 10(2), 2004
  5. ^ 'Media coverage in Election '04: were some parties more equal than others? in J Piombo & L Nijzink (eds) Electoral politics in South Africa: assessing the first democratic decade. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
  6. ^ 'No wonder viewers are switching off', The Star, 17 July 2014
  7. ^ 'For liberalism to succeed we must dispense with dogma', Politicsweb, 22 January 2013
  8. ^ 'The anatomy of a hollow liberal mythology', Politicsweb, 13 November 2013
  9. ^ 'Moving past the gatekeepers', Rhodes Journalism Review, no. 33, 2013
  10. ^ Who's Who of Southern Africa
  11. ^ 'DA focuses on new markets and media in run-up to 2014 poll', Business Day, 3 October 2011
  12. ^ 'DA puts social media strategy in overdrive ahead of elections', Business Day, 8 April 2014
  13. ^ 'Spin City: DA vs. ANC', Daily Maverick, 8 October 2013
  14. ^ 'DA sets ball rolling with history lesson to the nation', Business Day, 22 April 2013
  15. ^ 'Election 2014: Democratic Alliance takes the low road to Luthuli House', Daily Maverick, 24 January 2014
  16. ^ 'DA and Agang in talks - again', City Press, 26 January 2014
  17. ^ 'Seasoned MPs will assist DA's new caucus leader', Business Day, 30 May 2014
  18. ^ 'The DA's new shadow cabinet', Politicsweb, 5 June 2014
  19. ^ 'DA welcomes Ellen Tshabalala’s resignation', DA press statement, 17 December 2014
  20. ^ 'Changes to DA's Shadow Cabinet', DA press statement, 3 October 2015