Foreign Policy Blogs

Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance and National Politics

Cape Town mayor Hellen Zille has announced that she will be running for the Democratic Alliance's (DA) national leadership title, which will then put her in place to be the DA's candidate for the presidency. Zille hopes to replace Tony Leon, who announced last year that he would not seek another term as party leader. Zille will continue to fulfill her mayoral duties.

Zille also commented on the role of the ANC, and on her hopes that the DA can help to forge the country's future alongside the moderate forces of the ANC. She sees such an alliance as forestalling the ascendence of the country's “far left,” especially if the ANC splits.

This strikes me as a wise strategy. The DA depicts itself as a party “vir all die mense” (“for all the people”), and yet the reality is that a predominantly white political party is not going to provide a viable alternative to the ANC. But if the DA can promote an alliance with the ANC if and when the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) split from the ANC, it might just have a future as something more than an asterisk in national politics.