DA 'needs our honesty', insists IRR's Hermann Pretorius

08 October 2019 - 07:00 By Andisiwe Makinana
The Institute of Race Relations' Hermann Pretorius has taken it upon himself to advise the Democratic Alliance.
The Institute of Race Relations' Hermann Pretorius has taken it upon himself to advise the Democratic Alliance.
Image: Centre for Risk Analysis

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) launched its #SaveTheOpposition campaign on Monday, which is aimed at “saving” the DA from being a "hijacked" opposition.

Only a true friend will tell you when your face is dirty. This is the explanation the IRR has given for being knee-deep in the affairs of the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The IRR launched a #SaveTheOpposition campaign on Monday, which is aimed at “saving” the DA from being a "hijacked" opposition.

“We are a classically liberal think-tank ... and we will be honest with the DA. They need our honesty. Everyone can see their trajectory is heading in a disastrous direction,” said the institute's Hermann Pretorius when asked about their role in DA politics.

In a statement announcing the launch, the IRR described the DA as a party without direction, without identity and - if it remained stubborn and deaf to the advice of people who believe in true liberal democracy - without a future.

Pretorius said the IRR firmly believed that the DA should expel racist leaders from the party, stamp out corruption, stop race-based policies, end its alliance with the EFF and appoint good leaders.

The statement accused prominent DA members of triggering racial conflicts, saying the behaviour of the senior public representatives they cited had made it painfully clear that it was necessary for ordinary South Africa and think-tanks like the IRR to intervene in the affairs of the DA.


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The launch comes less than a week after Pretorius called for Western Cape premier Alan Winde to replace DA leader Mmusi Maimane at the helm of the country's official opposition.

In his column, Pretorius stated that “the seed of the DA’s recovery has been planted by a white man in the Western Cape”.

“If the party has any bottle, any mettle, any fight left at all, it will see in the leadership of Alan Winde its future as the real party for all South Africans,” he wrote.

In an interview with TimesLIVE, Pretorius argued that the IRR had for almost a century been saying the same principled things to governments and political parties, that “if you are going to make race politics the basis of your party's platform, you are going to be incredibly destructive to the country and you are going to fail”.

Pretorius also criticised the DA's working relationship with the EFF in Tshwane and Joburg, saying the alliance saw the party selling certain parts of the its liberal principles for the right to govern, which had also contributed to the DA's decline.

“Within the negotiations to form a government there are lot of complexities, but with strong leadership - a proper leadership with clarity of purpose and clarity of policy - and having a strong basis on non-racialism and not selling out on your basic principles, you can establish those basics and be able to build a stable multi-party coalition government,” he said.


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