Hiding an ugly Plan B behind an impossible Plan A
For a while now, the Cape independence movement has posed a particular question to the DA and its followers – what is your plan B?
Plan A has for some time been an impossible task, hence its adopted moniker, the “moonshot pact”. The notion is simple – that all parties that do not fall under the Charterist umbrella (ANC, EFF etc) form a grand coalition to oppose the ANC at national elections next year.
But everyone with a modicum of sense can tell that this is just not viable. The DA itself has spent the past couple of years bashing all the smaller parties for making metropolitan governing coalitions unstable, due to betrayals and side-switching.
The DA accused the public of betraying them and of voting indirectly voting for the ANC whenever they voted for any other opposition party, as only the DA could really call themselves a legitimate opposition party.
Clearly, DA leadership agrees that the Moonshot Pact is an act of optimistic lunacy.
So what is their backup plan, should the ANC remain in power, or if they do so by reuniting with the EFF? They have no public answer for this, but four major DA leaders have offered their opinion on this matter.
Helen Zille, John Steenhuisen, Solly Msimanga and Geordin Hill-Lewis have all at various points in the past year or two floated the idea that the ANC is a good idea for a coalition partner. Zille in particular was caught in a clandestine audio recording from 2017 saying that the long term aim of the DA has always been to consolidate support at 22% and then form a coalition with the ANC once they fall below 50%.
A reasonable person would conclude that their strategy is to offer a palatable but impossible Plan A in order to smuggle in an unpalatable but sincerely desired Plan B.
But this is extreme foolishness.
The DA do not have enough leverage to make any serious demands of the ANC as a coalition partner – the ANC can shop around for partners. If one averages all the opinion polls taken in the last year or so, the ANC is projected to get 47.5% next year. And each national election year, the polls underestimate their performance by around 3%.
Even if the ANC does not win the election, they will not need to form a coalition with a major party, and can pad their losses with any coalition partner capable of achieving over 5%.
The Da will not be able to achieve anything, and will be forced to acquiesce to ANC policy. Worse, they will have to defend their position once in government, which means defending the ANC. Close cooperation and a feeling of for once being on the same team, will likely engender the spread of ANC corruption to the DA.
We will then have a national coalition too big to criticise, completely unaccountable, and incapable of delivering sound governance to the people.
Not only that, but when a coalition doesn't go their way, DA leadership will often complain they were "manipulated" or "out-played". This is the game of politics, folks - you cannot claim to be capable of winning the game while complaining that others (even small upstarts like the PA) play it better than you. What will they do when having to deal with the ANC, a veteran manipulator of informal systems?
A realistic estimation of national finances shows that we cannot survive the next decade of ANC rule, but the DA refuses to turn to other options for saving any part of the country.
Instead of focusing on consolidating control of Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal with coalition partners, and redrawing municipal boundaries to protect minority communities, they prefer to line themselves up to maintain their status and careers.
They need to be brought to their senses, and the only way to do that is to vote for pro-independence parties like the VF+, CCC, and CIP. Pro-referendum parties like the ACDP are also a good option.
The DA is likely to lose their majority in the Western Cape, and will have to deal with these parties one way or another, or else with the PA, whom they despise.
If they choose to let the ANC into government in the Cape, they will lose majority support, and be forced to give ever-more away to the ANC over time.
The only realistic plan is self-determination, but the DA are reluctant to entertain it. They must be dragged along to their senses.