18 April, House of Commons, London – Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of Democratic Alliance (DA), discussed with Jeremy Lefroy, Africa APPG and AWEPA Member, the political situation in South Africa and the importance of a viable opposition. They made a comparison with the UK, highlighting one of the challenges in the UK as ensuring the political parties work effectively across the country.
Ms. Mazibuko started by remarking that in the Netherlands, as across the European Union and also globally, notions of leadership are being redefined. “The old way of doing politics no longer works”, referring also to the Arab spring. She mentioned that there is currently a deep disconnect between citizens and the people who are supposed to represent them. The challenge for the DA, as for other political parties, is to build the voters trust. “We must restore the belief that politics is not the place for personal enrichment, skullduggery or for the mediocre to rise, but is the arena for noble pursuits and just causes”. Ms. Mazibuko indicated that the DA’s mission is to convince people that the party’s liberal open-minded and pragmatic values and principles can help them to come out of poverty, and can help to improve the macro economy. “Democracy enables people to eat” she said.
She furthermore mentioned that in this changing and globalising world many issues that concern the Dutch electorate are similar to the concerns of South African voters, for example the rise of China, rapid spread of new technologies, economic degradation, sovereign debt crisis, extremism and xenophobia.
Also the DA, like the Netherlands, is familiar with coalition-building said Ms. Mazibuko. However, she noted that the DA only enters into coalitions based upon shared values and principles. If the prospective partners prove unreliable to work with, the DA will choose to not enter into a coalition, referring to the widely reported controversial Dutch government coalition agreement.
Finally, Ms. Mazibuko highlighted the strength of Africa and the fact that Africa is on the march, noting that “development is not something that rich countries do for poor countries, but that it is also something that poor countries do for themselves”. South Africa has a very young population with over two thirds defined as ‘youth’. Therefore the DA is working hard to mobilise this new smart generation in order to attain the goals, desires, concerns and hopes of the nation.
After the D66 party congress, Ms. Mazibuko had several meetings with the VVD, Dutch Liberal Party in The Hague.