#Elections19: What DA stands for

DA leader Mmusi Maimane delivers an address in the Free State [image: Polity.org]

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the second largest political party in South Africa, will once again fighting for a shot at the ruling party title in the 2019 elections on 8 May.

Established in 2000, the DA is said to be a centralist party with both central right and central left policies. As of 2015 the party has been led by current president Mmusi Maimane.

However, it is actually an old party. The DA was officially established in 1989 when the Progressive Federal Party, Independent Party and National Democratic Movement merged to form what became known as the Democratic Party. They were in the forefront of the political change that was taking place in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

One can arguably state that they are the most successful political party after the African National Congress (ANC), with 22.20% votes in the 2014 elections and governance in 33/278 municipalities in South Africa. Furthermore, they have made their mark in the Western Cape since 2009 with majority seats there (26/42 seats as of 2014).

DA leaders stand together as Alan WInde was named WC Premier candidate [image: EWN]
With all this responsibility granted to them, the party has been able to yield a number of great results in the metros in which they govern. 9/10 of the best municipalities are run by the DA, and they are all in the Western Cape.

However, one cannot ignore the fact that the province has the resources to sustain itself. It also does not have a crippling history which still needs to be built economically, hence it thrives in that sphere.

The biggest concern in the Western Cape, however, is the crime rate. Over the 18 months community members have protested pleading with the state to intervene and protect their communities and children. They have asked what will be done to make their streets gang-free, safe and clean.

In their 2019 manifesto, the party states that they have three core missions which they wish to achieve, “NOW”:
Economic Growth and Jobs, NOW through passing the Jobs Act that will make sure every home has a job. Importantly, making sure there is access to higher education and training.
Building a Caring, Opportunity-Rich South Africa which begins with a caring social system and a health system that works.
Creating the Capable State through building a resilient state where all South Africans are safe and secure. Also, when it comes to immigration, there is a need to secure the borders.

Supporters at the DA manifesto launch [image: Power 98.7]
Although the 83 page manifesto contains a lot of content, it is clear that the DA wishes to make direct impact in the communities, however it tries to stay away from controversial topics that the country is battling with at the moment. Specifically the land issue when it comes to land dispossession without compensation.

It looks closely into land reform as an overall factor.

The biggest let down is the direct comparison they make with the ruling party throughout the manifesto. It features too many low-blows directed at the ANC, rather than the expression of individual endeavours to do better.

Nevertheless, their presence is felt by South Africans. Their media and physical presence in communities is felt, the DA sure knows how to make a noise and be heard. All we can do now is watch and see if they will indeed shake us all be changing the political dynamics on Election Day.