My message to whites who think Maimane has sold the DA out

Let’s start by accepting that voters are emotional beings*.

Our votes are cast almost exclusively on the basis of emotional drivers: anxiety, fear for some; suspicion and anger, perhaps, for others.

There is no such thing as a rational voter who makes their choice upon the dispassionate assessment of the relative pros and cons of each party.

Second, there is no such thing as a ‘race band-wagon’. Race is a real and pervasive issue in this country. You might feel peeved about it to the point where you buy into the idea that the DA has jumped onto the ‘band-wagon’ but you are in the wrong position to be saying so.

Us whites too easily forget that the momentum of opportunity theft that Apartheid instituted against blacks is still crippling. To make it worse, despite BEE and similar policies, the momentum of white and minority advantage is still very strong. That’s not an opinion it’s a fact: look at income growth by race group since 1994.

earnings_growth
Source: The Economist

The unfortunate reality 20+ years on, is that the structural legacy the evil system bequeathed us is still alive and well.  Black South Africans are largely still poor and short on opportunity, and thus understandably frustrated and angry.

Against this backdrop, incidents of white on black racism are incendiary. I’d go as far as to say that there isn’t such a thing as reverse racism, and that black on white ‘racism’ is more like hatred than racism – because racism as we know it has that special aspect of racial superiority weaved into it. When Sparrow made her comments, she wasn’t just saying ‘I hate you’, she was saying loudly, ‘You are less human than me.’ That’ll make a person furious.

In a country with as much frustration as we have, people need somewhere to direct their outrage – Sparrow et al were good for frustrated blacks, and President Zuma is the old favorite of frustrated whites.

So, Mmusi Maimane is not jumping on any band-wagon. We have a problem in this country that is not being made any better by the gross mis-management of the ANC-led government.

Unfortunately that same problem creates circumstances ripe for blaming all via race on whites (and minorities), and stoking racial tensions for political ends.  Until we face this issue head on, South Africa will not be able to turn the corner and start moving forward again.

Mmusi Maimane is doing what few South African political leaders ever do – he is leading.  He is leading his party, and he is trying to lead South Africans.

We have some way to travel as a nation to get past the drag anchor of race and the impact that it has on the vitality of our democracy.  I have a renewed sense of optimism about our future knowing Maimane is leading us on that journey.

So, you really have two choices as a white voter:

  1. If you are an unrepentant racist, then find a conservative, backwater party like the FF- who will accommodate your views.  They will never get big enough to make a difference, and you will end up on the wrong side of history.
  2. Accept that the only way is forward, confront your feelings and beliefs about race, consider them in the context of you and your children – try to empathise: how would I feel if me or my children were spoken to like that, or how would I feel if I had to live in those conditions every day of my life? Then, cast your vote for a party who you believe will most effectively tackle the challenges that confront our nation.

* This is not opinion either, but solid neuroscience.  The best resource for understanding this better is “The Political Brain” by Drew Westen.

Why de Waal’s anti-Zille rhetoric is wrong

I watched with interest last week as Mandy de Waal waged a strange crusade against Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Helen Zille.

The reason for de Waal’s crusade, to my surprise, was because Zille had written a comprehensive condemnation of white-on-black racism and a call to action for us all to clamp down on it.

In doing so, Zille listed in detail the numerous incidents of heinous behaviour around the country that have been reported with alarming frequency in the media. She made the case that South Africans have a responsibility to shut down the social space white racists thrive in. She cited as “nauseating” those whites who think it is ok to make racist comments by assuming their company all share the same views.

Zille also held no punches in taking on the new “self-appointed” leaders of the far right – Steve Hofmeyr and Dan Roodt – comparing them to the “khaki-clad, gun-toting, horse-riding para-militaries of old”.

Importantly, she drew a line in the sand by bluntly telling the “incorrigible” racists in our society to rather go and find a home with Roodt’s microscopic Front Nasionaal party, because the DA is “disgusted by them”.

So I was surprised then that de Waal chose not to attack the loony bin that is the far-right, and the social misfit aggressors among them, but instead elected to use cherry-picked visuals and flawed data analysis to support her strange and pious crusade against Zille.

What has compelled me to pen an intervention in this matter, is de Waal’s ham-fisted use of statistical demographic data produced by my colleague Adrian Frith prior to his accepting a position in my directorate.

Using census data, he developed maps of the entire country showing the geographical spread of residents by income, language and race.

The maps he produced are actually very useful for assessing current levels of racial integration in our cities, and how this compares to our apartheid past where races were strictly segregated.

Desperate to attack Zille using the approach of the old chestnut of Cape Town being more racist or segregated than anywhere else, de Waal selectively used these maps to make a self-serving point, that is patently incorrect.

Frith was never asked – as the author of the maps – for an interpretation that could have spared de Waal this embarrassment.

Only de Waal alone will know why she chose to manipulate the data to serve her own pious argument.

Her grand conclusion was: “A look at the Johannesburg map and the Cape Town map speaks volumes about integration in the two different cities. The Jozi map shows that previously white neighbourhoods are becoming integrated. The Cape Town map shows that the city is far from integrated.”

But to set the record straight on racial integration in our cities I would like to offer a statistically based overview, as a service to anyone genuinely interested in the truth about this important South African question.

In July 2013, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) produced a report entitled “Measuring racial segregation at different geographic scales in Cape Town and Johannesburg 1991 – 2011”.

The report found that in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, “residential segregation has decreased between 1991 and 2011” but that, “despite this, segregation remains high in both cities”.

At some geographic scales Johannesburg is more segregated than Cape Town, and at other scales Cape Town is more segregated.

In the end the report found that levels of racial integration are similar in both cities, with neither being particularly more segregated than the other.

Stats SA applied the same method of calculation used by the United States Census Bureau to determine an “entropy score” or “diversity index” for these two South African metros.

To see the bigger picture, my colleagues and I have since calculated the diversity index of all of South Africa’s metros. I am happy to make the working data and codes we used available for the sake of transparency, but will offer a brief explanation of the methodology here (note that the results for Cape Town and Johannesburg we obtained differ slightly from those obtained by Stats SA, because the exact data and calculation approach used by Stats SA are not known).

We calculated a diversity index (or “entropy score”) for the whole municipal area in each metro. If a metro contained 25% Black Africans, 25% Coloureds, 25% Asians and 25% Whites, it would have the maximum possible diversity index. (we ignored those who indicated “other” on the census because we don’t know what that really means.)

If a municipality had a population that was 100% of one race, it would have the minimum possible diversity index.

We divided the municipal area into a regular grid of 4km x 4km squares. This size was chosen because it was the middle of the range of sizes used by Stats SA (Note that the Stats SA paper describes the grid sizes as ranging from one square kilometre to eight square kilometres).

We calculated the diversity index for the population of each square. Then we calculated, for each square, the difference between the whole municipality’s diversity index and that square’s diversity index – so a square more diverse than the municipality as a whole would have a negative difference, and a square less diverse than the municipality as a whole would have a positive difference.

Finally, we multiplied each square’s difference by its total population and summed them up. This sum, when divided by the population of the whole municipality, divided by the municipality’s diversity score, yielded a result between zero and one, with zero being complete integration and one being complete segregation.

We have represented the results of these calculations in a graphic showing the diversity index of South Africa’s cities.

segindex

The actual data is interrogated rather than a biased glance at selected maps as Ms de Waal chose to do, Cape Town and Johannesburg are on pretty much an even keel as far as integration is concerned.

This is supported by the Stats SA report which indicates that in some cases Cape Town is more segregated, and in others Johannesburg is more segregated, but broadly speaking they have very similar figures.

The index places Cape Town second (best) in the country for integration, followed very closely by Johannesburg, and then the rest of the metros with Tshwane and Manguang (worst) showing up about twice as segregated as eThekwini.

It is clear that the challenge of tackling apartheid’s legacy is one that faces all of South Africa’s towns and cities.

The bottom line is that all governments have a duty to drive economic growth and inclusion so that people have more opportunities to improve their lives, and to choose where they live.

I take issue with de Waal abusing mapped data of Cape Town and Johannesburg that was put into the public domain as a service to help people understand the statistical truth of integration in our cities.

All de Waal simply did was deliberately select a part of Cape Town’s map that was less integrated than the part of the map she selected for Johannesburg.

In any case, trying to judge the degree of segregation by just “looking at the maps” is unscientific and highly subject to bias in the viewer – if you expect to see more segregation in one city, you’ll probably see it. This is an abuse of the data and irresponsible journalism. There is no need to use this visual approach when there are actual statistical measures of segregation available.

I have not written this piece to favourably represent one city’s integration over another regardless of the facts. Nor do I seek to trivialise the very serious challenge of integrating our cities, to make any self-serving political arguments; as I believe de Waal has unfortunately done.

However, I do want to make a point about a sector of middle-class hypocrites who use serious issues such as racism, privilege and segregation as cover to serve their own narcissistic agendas.

Only they, it seems, can be the true “anti-racists”, ironically using the privilege of their amplified voices in the media, not in service of the greater good, or of the facts, but for their own self-interest.

List of DA Public Reps on Twitter

Hola tweeps – if I am missing one or if the handle has changed, let me (@warwickchapman) know:

@AnnetteLovemore – MP
@BenedictaVanMin – Cllr
@BrenvanderMerwe – Cllr
@ChrisHattinghDA – MPL
@Cilliers_Brink – Cllr
@CllrMack90 – Cllr
@DAJohniDA – Cllr
@DALimpopo (Desiree van der Walt) – MP
@DebbieSchafer – MP
@DKB20 – MP
@Elza_Van_Lingen – MP
@FredNelDA – MPL
@FrontLineGreg – MP
@GrahamGersbach – Cllr
@Grantpascoe – Cllr
@HlangananiGumbi – Cllr
@JFTerblanche – MP/L
@JackBloomDA – MPL
@JanetSemple1 – MPL
@Jo1Coetzee – Cllr
@LanceGreyling – MP
@LindiMazibuko – MP
@MaimaneAM – Cllr
@Makashule – Cllr
@MichaelWatersMP – MP
@NicoleGraham031 – Cllr
@PatriciaDeLille – Cllr
@PietervanDalen – MP
@RowanThiele – Cllr
@ShinnMarian – MP
@SizweMchunu – MPL
@SquireLees – MP
@StevensonBobby – MPL
@StuartPringle1 – Cllr

@alanwinde – MPL / MEC
@andrewseddie – Cllr
@brandontopham – Cllr
@brettherron – Cllr
@clrashor – Cllr
@davebryantct – Cllr
@deanwmacpherson – Cllr
@elmarielinde – Cllr
@gareth_morgan – MP
@geordinhl – MP
@helenzille – MPL / Premier
@henrokruger – Cllr
@ianneilson – Cllr
@ianollis – MP
@ivan2meyer – MPL
@jamesselfe3 – MP
@jsteenhuisen – MP
@kmileham – Cllr
@lanceweyer – Cllr
@mbalimcdust – Cllr
@mda_atwork – Cllr
@mikemo702 – MPL
@rosierau – Cllr
@rickcrouch – Cllr
@bevschafer – Cllr
@timharris – MP
@warwickchapman – Cllr
@wilmotjames – MP

What is the Open Opportunity Society for All?

“Realising The Open Opportunity Society For All: A Policy Platform”, June 2008, Ryan Coetzee – Democratic Alliance


Introduction

The Democratic Alliance’s vision for South Africa is of “an Open Opportunity Society for All”, a society in which every person has the right, the space and the capability to be himself, develop herself and pursue his own ends as an equal and fully legitimate citizen of South Africa.

Our updated policy platform – the Open Opportunity Society in Action – gives substance to that vision.

The purpose of this introduction is to fill out our understanding of the Open Opportunity Society for All, providing a clear exposition of the values and ideas on which it is based.

 

The three components of the Open Opportunity Society for All

The term “Open Opportunity Society for All” brings together three key concepts – individual freedom under the rule of law, opportunity with responsibility and full equality for all – and in doing so, creates a fourth concept that underpins our vision of the proper relationship between individuals, the state and society in South Africa today. Our vision is grounded in the idea that every human being has a right to dignity. Human dignity is the foundational concept that informs our values and vision.

An open society

There are six key components of an open society:

  • A constitution that enshrines the rule of law, individual rights and freedoms and the separation of powers;
  • Transparency and accountability, without which governments abuse their power and compromise the freedoms enshrined in the constitution;
  • Security of person and property;
  • An independent and free-thinking civil society, including a free and independent media and a free and independent political opposition that is loyal to the constitutional order;
  • A general tolerance of difference on the part of the population; and
  • An economy that is characterised primarily by the free choices of individuals.

The two key ideas that unite these five components are the related ideas of individual freedom and the limitation of state power. They are related because an extension of state power necessitates a limitation of individual freedom and vice versa. In other words, an open society is one in which individuals are free to be themselves and pursue their own ends, and in which both the law and the attitudes of the population provide the space for them so to be.

In protecting and promoting an open society in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance must identify and oppose attempts to limit the space for individual freedom and actively promote the extension of such space.

An opportunity society

Every person in an open society enjoys the same formal freedoms, but those freedoms can be impossible to take advantage of in practice if the people concerned do not have the wherewithal – the money, power and opportunity – actually to be themselves, to develop themselves and to pursue their own ends.

For example, how can a child really be herself, develop herself and pursue her own ends if she is born into poverty, without the prospect of a decent education, without access to basic healthcare, with little prospect of gainful employment, without the money to fight for her rights in a court, constrained all the while by cultural traditions that pay little heed to her own wishes?

What is required then is for people to be offered the opportunity to develop the capabilities needed to take advantage of the formal freedoms they enjoy; the wherewithal actually to be themselves, to develop themselves and to pursue their own ends.

In an opportunity society, therefore, your path in life is not determined by the circumstances of your birth, including both your material and “demographic” circumstances, but rather by your talents and by your efforts. That is why, in an opportunity society, a child born in poverty should nevertheless be able to become a brain surgeon, provided he has the talent and puts in the effort required to succeed.

Both civil society and the state have a role to play in creating opportunity for citizens, while individuals have a responsibility to make use of the opportunities on offer.

The proper relationship between the state and the individual in an Open Opportunity Society for All is outlined below, and this relationship is given concrete expression in our policy platform.

First, however, the final concept in the Open opportunity Society – the idea that South Africa is “for all”, or as Nelson Mandela famously said, “belongs to all who live in it, both black and white.”

A society for all its people

There is a long history of racial and ethnic division in South Africa; of racist discrimination; of racial suspicion and competition.

In order to transcend this past, and usher in an era in which people are judged by their character, their effort and their contribution, and not by their race, we believe that attitude and policy should be based on the following:

  • An absolute rejection of discrimination on grounds of race and other characteristics of birth;
  • A clear acknowledgement that there is a long history of racial discrimination and oppression in South Africa, that it was wrong and that positive action is now required to make it right. That positive action must be targeted at individuals who still suffer the effects of discrimination, not at groups. It must provide opportunity to the disadvantaged without shutting off opportunity to the advantaged;
  • A clear acknowledgement that all South Africans are legitimate and enjoy full moral equality – that is what it means to say South Africa “belongs” to all who live in it; and
  • The active protection and promotion of the language and culture of all South Africans.

 

The proper relationship between the state and the individual in an Open Opportunity Society for All

In acting to extend opportunity to all, the state must ensure that it does not compromise the freedom of the individual. To do so would be to shut down the open society. On the other hand, to neglect those without the wherewithal to direct their own lives in the name of freedom is to shut down the opportunity society.

Therefore, in an opportunity society that also values individual freedom, the state’s role must be to facilitate, not direct, the activity of citizens; if it provides services, it must seek to expand choice, not determine choices; it must not simply “deliver” to a passive citizenry, which takes what it is lucky enough to get, but must allow the citizenry to determine which opportunities it requires; it must encourage independence, not dependence.

In other words, the free, independent, active individual is at the heart of the opportunity society, both in determining the opportunities required and in taking advantage of them.

Each policy put forward by the DA will tease out more concretely the relationship between the state and individuals in that area. But in each case, our policies will:

  • Seek to give citizens a say in determining the opportunities and intervention they require from the state, not determine for citizens what they need;
  • Expand choice, not contract it;
  • Require people to take personal responsibility for making use of their opportunities, not reward laziness or a sense of entitlement;
  • Promote excellence in performance;
  • Not be accepting of mediocrity;
  • Promote independence and the attainment of self-reliance, not dependence and passivity;
  • Be grounded in care and compassion for people, not coldness or callousness.
  • Respect and promote the history and culture of all South Africans, not privilege some over others, whether explicitly or implicitly;
  • Reject discrimination on grounds of race and other characteristics of birth, and not engage in practices that re-racialise South Africa; and
  • Promote redress for those individuals who today suffer the consequences of past discrimination, but not shut off opportunities for the advantaged in the process.

 

Conclusion

The DA’s vision for South Africa is achievable. Our cause is to promote it and, through winning support for it, to put it into action.

We believe it is a compelling vision, harnessing all that is best in human kind, grounded in a rightly optimistic view of our capacity to live well together, and to succeed.

Our policy programme gives concrete expression to our vision. On the one hand, it is conservative: it seeks to protect the gains we have made in establishing a democratic society under a constitution; on the other hand, it is an agenda for radical change: it seeks a fundamental transformation of South Africa, from the racial division, abuse of state power, patronage and dependence of the past to a society in which every person really does have the right, the space and the opportunity to be themselves, develop themselves and pursue their own ends.