Speaking on Friday 23 May at the 12th annual Teach-In public lecture series hosted by the Rhodes University Department of Politics and International studies, Eusebius Mckaiser followed on what he said at his book launch the previous night and continued to give his direct views on the Democratic Alliance (DA). Held over the course of the week, the series discussion was based on the 2014 National Election.
Mckaiser discussed numerous problems troubling the DA, identifying the issue of race as being the root of all problems. “The DA is inconsistent with race. They treat it as if does not matter whereas in actuality, they are deeply concerned about it,” he said.
Mckaiser spoke a great deal about the DA’s seeming hypocrisy on race and said that the party should “come out of the closet” and admit that they do indeed see colour. Mckaiser further said that the African National Congress (ANC) has both intellectuals and fools as opposed to the DA that has no intellectual class to speak of.
He also points out that Mmusi Maimane is viewed as Lindiwe Mazibuko’s possible successor as the DA’s new parliamentary caucus leader. “Why him and why are other names not surfacing?” he asks. Speaking on the DA’s parliamentary caucus vote that took place on Wednesday 28 May, Mckaiser said that “Maimane’s win will be a gigantic mistake for the DA”.
“Mmusi does not have experience. The reason his name is even up points to how the DA is interested in a type of black person, and so class dynamics in the DA play an important part. Working class people have a harder time making it in the DA than us, coconuts,” Mckaiser quipped, much to the amusement of the audience.
He contrasts Makashule Gana who has been with the DA for 12 years with Mmusi, and finds that the former is not in the same position as the latter because of his working class status.
Eusebius went on to say that the DA’s denial of race prevents it from positioning itself ideologically, and unlike the EFF which has distinguished itself ideologically, the DA should ask if it is still a liberal party. “Liberalism is important to the DA because they started that way when they were smaller. However, the party does not understand how to think about liberalism anymore. Helen Zille cannot be called a liberal. The capacity to even have the conversation [about liberalism] is not there,” he asserted.
Although Mckaiser believes that the DA will not “implode like the COPE”, he believes that the party could have done better than obtaining 22% in the recent National Elections. “It can still win over more black votes provided that they address the question of race,” he said.