Opinion

Would Peter Bruce rather promote elitism or build one SA for all?

17 March 2019 - 00:00 By MMUSI MAIMANE


Intentionally or not, Peter Bruce is cheerleading for an elitist movement led by an elitist leader who represents his interests.
Like other liberation movements, the ANC has turned from a mass movement into a party representing and protecting the interests of the connected. Corrupt or not, the ANC's approach enriches the haves at the expense of the have-nots. That is why we'll know neither peace nor broad prosperity while the ANC governs.
When the DA says we want to build "One South Africa for All", we mean we want to open opportunities to everyone. Currently, there is a SA of the connected and protected who prosper at the expense of a SA that is locked out of opportunity.
Take, for example, our rigid labour laws, which protect the employed but lock out the unemployed. Or the system of broad-based BEE that enriches the ANC-connected elite at the expense of the rest by making government spending extraordinarily inefficient. These systems perpetuate SA's insider-outsider economy.
An elite movement led by an elite leader can be appealing to insiders like Bruce. Bruce wants other insiders to believe we must help the elite leader stay in power. Inherent in Bruce's argument is that separate development should be perpetuated.
Where Ramaphosa fights to save the ANC, I fight to save SA. Saving the ANC may protect insider access to wealth and opportunity, but it won't help the 10-million unemployed.
The DA's manifesto considers the needs of all citizens. We'd exempt small businesses from most labour legislation, to remove barriers for market entrants, be they entrepreneurs or job-seekers. We'd side with the interests of schoolchildren over the interests of South African Democratic Teachers Union bosses.
The ANC will never stand up to unions. They form its core support base. So outsiders will remain locked out. Insiders such as Bruce are protected from the collapsing public system through access to private services. Being connected, they can create private wealth. Under the ANC, a narrowing pool of citizens will continue to amass all the private resources of the country.
Self-interested as Bruce's thinking is, it also relies on the fallacy that voters are somehow able to give Ramaphosa a mandate. But of course, Ramaphosa's mandate comes from the ANC's national executive committee, the same NEC that kept Zuma in power for nine devastating years.
Bruce advocates voting ANC to get Ramaphosa back into government. But he has it back to front. Ramaphosa is the Trojan Horse to get the ANC back into government, not the other way around. When Bruce votes "for Ramaphosa", he will be putting his cross next to the ANC and giving the party a mandate. Until the constitution is amended, voters can vote only for parties.
Unequivocally, he will be voting for corruption, incompetence and socialism. Unequivocally, he will be putting the "deeply criminal element" inside the ANC back onto the benches of parliament.
It is an indictment of both men that Ramaphosa is happy to be the battering ram to get that criminal element back into parliament and Bruce is happy to be his cheerleader.
Corrupt or not, ANC parliamentarians will put through bills that nationalise more and more of the economy. Bruce is naive if he thinks the ANC's move to nationalise the Reserve Bank won't lead to political interference with its mandate. Ramaphosa is playing a dangerous game as the ANC's Judas goat. When the ANC becomes desperate, it will have the option of printing money. That is not good.
Bruce wants the DA to "stand, somehow, with Ramaphosa". But just as he can't "somehow" vote for Ramaphosa, we can't "somehow" stand with Ramaphosa. We'd have to stand with the ANC. But how is the ANC any better than the EFF? They glibly murdered 144 people in Gauteng and are implementing the EFF's crazy socialist policy without even being in coalition with the EFF.
The DA is not in coalition with the EFF in Joburg and Tshwane, as many people seem to think; we lead minority coalitions there. And even though we rely on the EFF to vote with us on matters in council, we have never implemented its socialist policy.
Its reward for handing government to us in 2016 was the credit it got for helping to remove corrupt ANC governments in those two metros. The arrangement has saved citizens billions of rands that were being lost to corruption and wasteful expenditure.
In 2016, the DA acted in the best interest of citizens, and we'll do so again in 2019. We're not in it to "climb to power"; we're in it to find solutions. Peter Bruce has chosen to be part of the problem. But he's in the elite who can buy or fly their way out if necessary. Most people can't. That's why the DA is inviting everyone to join the real struggle: the struggle to build one SA for all.
• Maimane is leader of the DA

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