By Pule Monama

At the risk of facing the political gallows from the South African liberals, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in particular, may I ask this simple and very uncomfortable question?I am ready to face the gallows…this is a question worth asking.Does the DA, being a historically white liberal political party, not ever have what is generally known as rank-and-file members within its white constituency?According to the news I listened to while I was driving, the DA had a ‘successful’ march to Luthuli House on Wednesday 25 January, against the monumental and crippling failure by Eskom to supply power to the country. What intrigued me was that the vast majority of the participants in the march were Black people. That is what I saw; yes I saw them on television before the march commenced. I think I am not way off base to even venture into saying the marchers were about 97% black. Does this mean it is only Black people within the DA who have the responsibility to protest against poor governance? Why is this glaring imbalance not reflected at leadership level? Perception is everything in politics and one would have thought the DA is keenly aware of the fact that we may draw conclusions which suggest that Black people in the DA are just good to swell the numbers when it comes to marching and voting. Other than that, leadership, decision-making and control of the direction the DA takes, are the preserve of the white populace…the custodians of the policies and values of liberalism. Another important question is; does the DA even care about perceptions?At the rate they are carrying on, I guess not.Steve Biko was correct in refusing them membership into the Black Consciousness Movement because they only saw themselves as the best leaders of the struggle that essentially belonged to the oppressed. To this end, Steve Biko and his comrades directed them to organise people in their communities if indeed they felt so strongly about our oppression.  To this day, we have a negligible history suggesting an overwhelming majority of white communities organised revolts against a system that oppressed Black people. We do have individuals, though, who selflessly took it upon themselves to sacrifice their privileged and comfortable positions and contributed to the struggle, and their involvement cannot be ignored, and it is unequivocally commendable.As things stand I cannot be faulted for expecting more from the white liberals who claim to be fighting for fairness and justice. The DA, quite honestly, should also have organised marchers from all sectors of the population because, in my view, load shedding affects every citizen and not only black communities. It is disingenuous for the DA to use predominantly black participants in its protests. We can no longer pretend that the intentions of white liberals are sincere when there is such a gaping deficit where it matters most.One final question that demands an honest response, is, why don’t the black participants in DA marches take the bull by the horns? Surely the suffering wrought by the lack of good governance affects our communities more than they after the well-heeled liberals.

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