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The demise of the NNP is now complete!

26 June 2000

In the Sunday Times of the 25th June 2000, Tony Leone, leader of the newly formed Democratic Alliance, wrote an interesting article about the reasons for the formation of this political outfit. This article still affirms the anarchical liberal notion of less rule and more opposition!

Leone states that the overriding political imperative in South Africa today is the need to entrench democracy. Sadly, liberals still think that the material interests of the black majority, their yearning for full and genuine social and economic emancipation, are non-issues. For them, the imperative is just political rights without the accompanyights without the accompanying fulfilment of the socio-economic rights.

What continues to baffle the political reader and follower in South Africa is: why is a bigger ANC a threat to democracy but a bigger Democratic Party, swallowing up and gobbling all minority parties, a plus for democracy?

Further, when the ANC and IFP embarked upon just a coalition, the DP was the first to decry this as a ganging up of black parties, but when two parties of white privilege really gang up against change and black people, that is supposed to be very good for democracy and the course for non-racialism.

But, this opposition to change is clothed in all manner of subterfuges. Surely, the privileged can and do not see change brought about by the revolution, of which the ANC is but a principal agent. Their assessment of change is premised upon the thesis that anything that does not further entrench white minority privilege is not delivery, that which frees the slaves from poverty is not delivery.

What upsets the DP regarding the new democratic state under construction is that it is being transformed to become representative and people-centred. What Leone wants is a small white bourgeois state that is just an agent for the entrenchment of minority privilege and majority poverty! Leone thoroughly believes that if you are a black public servant you have neither skills nor expertise, these reside only among whites!

Actually, the DP approa DP approach to the state, premised narrowly on racial lines, rubbishes what could otherwise be an incredible national debate on the democratic state, its transformation and tasks. But, the point is that the DP is narrowly and stupidly poised on an attitude of mind that the apartheid state was better, all we should do is trim it!

This fixation with protecting minority privileges percolates every aspect of DP policy. As a result, talk of nation building, coming either from Leone`s mouth or pen, is just balderdash.

This same fixation informs their attitude to the Zimbabwean question, where President Mugabe rather than the destitution of the African majority has been elevated to the principal enemy. But, the latter is exactly what the Zimbabwean struggle was about, the fulfilment of which will create one Zimbabwean nation. It must be unequivocally stated that nation building cannot be premised upon the edifice of African poverty!

This hatred for change is epitomised, at all times, in the hatred for black people generally! The venomous attacks on President Mbeki, whether on the question of Zimbabwe or his international mobilisation for the addressing of poverty in Africa, and the staunch opposition to black unity, betrays this stance of FIGHT BLACKS and FIGHT BACK!

The DP`s swallowing up of the NNP and the Federal Alliance is similar to the 1910 Union consensus between the Afrikaners and the English in which thwhich the latter came out victorious. Once more, the Afrikaner is being duped to believe that his humiliation is in the interest of a strong opposition to the ANC! Once more, big English and Afrikaner agricultural capital are expediently uniting in an effort from their political representatives to harness and marshal their forces to scupper change.

But, this merger is but a farce! It does not increase their strength, parliamentary time or even support. It just creates one sum out of existing strength and makes Tony Leone`s voice the master voice!

Earlier this year in Cape Town, I argued that the Western Cape DP/NNP coalition was an anti-black coalition that would end up with either the walking away of the Coloured working class from the NNP in disgust or with the demise of the NNP. The Democratic Alliance has just vindicated this opinion and completes demise of the NNP.

And, like Brutus said at Caesars` funeral, the DP has not come to praise the NNP, but to bury it! Everything associated with `nationalist` is gone, what remains is `democratic`. Sooner, `alliance` will also give way to `party`, and we will head straight back to Democratic Party and no New National Party!

The NNP was destined for this tragic and humiliating end. Marthinus van Schalkwyk is just an historic victim of an inevitable eventuality. Lacking charisma, character, leadership, vision or even collective to think with, he was just a haplt a hapless victim of a Nedcor-style hostile DP merger bid, and the DP has taken full advantage of van Schalkwyk`s vices.

As if to rub salt to the wound, Leone argues that if "the DP does not engage seriously with the NP, the ANC will do its very best to swallow that party up and entrench its hegemony". Well, now we know what has just hit poor Marthinus!

Leone is hereby posturing as a great warrior to save the NNP from being swallowed up by the ANC and being entrenched with ANC hegemony. Benevolently, the DP has volunteered to do the honours of swallowing the NNP up and entrenching its hegemony. So, the serious engagement is but an act of swallowing up!

Well, I have no obituaries or last tributes for the NNP, it has fallen into a bottomless pit it dug for itself. It could have chosen dignity, to act in the present to advance the frontiers of freedom and democracy, but it chose shame and humiliation! Well, what does the NNP know about dignity, freedom and democracy! Of course, it knows nothing about dignity, freedom and democracy!

The challenge is now on all black people, especially the Coloured working class, to walk out of this sham! If they do not go out now, this will end up with their own humiliation and disgrace!

Malusi Gigaba
African National Congress Youth League