To build a fairer DA we must:
- End the personality cults around leaders that we have allowed to creep into our organisation. No more leaders who are more important than any other members. I will be a leader that will be on the ground with you and always approachable as I have always been.
- Stop the culture of insiders and outsiders in our party. I will always be available to listen to the advice of any member and end the culture of only a few people having the ear of the leader. This breaks down trust between the leadership, public representatives and members. We are a party built on our membership and branches. It is time to take the party back to its membership.
- End the fear that has crept into our organisation where members feel afraid to express themselves out of fear of being victimised or no longer re-elected. I will let it start with me and show that any member can express themselves and disagree with me and never be victimised for it. We simply cannot have a party where members do not feel free and where they are bullied and labelled. We need a new era and ethos.
- Cultivate a PPAS system in our party which objectively evaluates the work of public representatives and not as an instrument of punishment or to advance individual interests. To this end we must design a system that is fair to everyone and rewards hard work and effort and one that encourages us to produce meaningful outcomes rather than chase targets for target’ sake. I will ensure we have a dedicated unit tasked solely with helping public representatives in areas identified during assessments to be lacking.
- Take care of those councillors who have been loyal to the party and achieved good scores across their term by allowing them to advance straight to selection panel during an election period. Based solely on their work and not who they know.
- Build a disciplinary system that is independent and free of any politicisation by including independent jurists. This is so that its procedures and outcomes are trusted and respected in the same way we advocate for our nation’s judiciary to be. We must lead by example in this regard. I will also speak to members to try engaging with one another before charging one another.
To build a stronger DA we must:
- Return to our federal roots and give provinces and regions far greater autonomy to manage their own processes. We need to give them space to formulate their own election campaigns. We must federalise resources and strategy. That means use data and polling to support local campaigns, not dictate them with a top down approach. We need bigger support for local structures.
- Ensure that we use the party’s machinery to build the profiles of all our councillors because they are the brands and faces of the party in their areas. This will make us stronger and able to win in wards using the brands of our hardworking councillors.
- Allow the DA Youth to run autonomous campaigns to garner support from young people in the way that the party cannot do. This is the same with DAWN. As a female leader, I will commit to support all DAWN leaders in driving issues that can empower woman and help to push for gender sensitive budgeting processes in government.
- Properly resource our DA Rainbow Network so that they can effectively champion issues that affect the Queer community. We must encourage members within the party to undergo sensitization training on sexuality issues so that we can all relate better to the challenges queer individuals face in our communities & the workplace. I will be proposing that a constitutional amendment to make DA Rainbow Network an official ancillary body of the party.
- Recognise that students are critical to the party’s growth in different markets. Under my leadership, I will prioritise this market and be available to meet them and help them campaign and be resourced to win votes for the party.
Under my leadership I will ensure that structures such as the DA Youth, DASO, DAWN, and the DA’s Rainbow Network are given far greater legitimacy so they can effectively participate in setting the party’s agenda, and widening our appeal to people who often feel forgotten in the democratic project.
Clearing up policy confusion
Democrats, we must use the upcoming policy conference to make it clear to ourselves and South Africans who we are and what we stand for. Specifically:
- I do not believe that it is correct for any leader to pronounce on policy positions if they have not been agreed to by the party. I will never be a leader that causes confusion by pronouncing my own views as though they are those of the party. Especially the very views that divide us.
- To that end, I will be moving for a constitutional amendment to have policy conferences more regularly. A policy conference must take place at least six months before every single congress in future. The more our members and activists debate our policy in their structures, the less confusion there will be about who are and what we stand for.
- I will be putting forward a constitutional amendment that changes the representation at our policy conferences. Our policy conference is currently attended by only a few more members than those who sit on Federal Council. There are no activists who can add a diversity of views and share experiences of their own communities. This has to change.
Realigning Politics: Becoming the core of a new majority
We have an opportunity we may never have again. South Africans are looking for something fresh and new from us. I believe with your help I can be a leader that will show South Africa how amazing things could be under a DA government.
I want us to win!
In the next few months we are going to be fighting the toughest local government elections we have ever fought. In order for us to ensure we return as many councillors as we can, we are going to have to inspire voters that have never voted for the DA before. If we do that, even those who stayed home and didn’t vote for us will also return. I want us to work together towards this goal.
To achieve this, we must:
- Build relationships of trust and respect with other opposition parties that share our vision for South Africa;
- Enter into coalition agreements between parties based on desired shared outcomes, and ensure that they are available to the public to ensure transparency;
- Put the pro-poor service delivery agenda at the centre of governance activity;
- Diligently exercise good governance practices; and
- Center engagement with coalition partners squarely on principles already agreed upon to avoid the breakdown in relations as we saw in metros we used to govern.