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Lifestyle/Community

ACDP , DA put their views across.

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DAVID SAKS

On Thursday evening Jack Bloom, leader of the DA in the Gauteng Legislature, headed a delegation of mainly Jewish city councillors who met with representatives of a range of Jewish organisations at Beyachad.

The following day, it was the turn of the ACDP, represented by the party’s chief whip in Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley. The meetings took place under the auspices of the SAJBD, which earlier this year arranged for Minister Fikile Mbalula to address a Jewish youth gathering on behalf of the ANC.

Bloom said that the success of the DA’s record in the Western Cape was one of the main planks of its campaign. Under successive DA administrations, the Western Cape had been a model of good governance, in contrast to the corruption and mismanagement that was rife in the remaining, ANC-led provinces.

Voters, many of whom were of the “born free” generation and therefore less influenced by the apartheid and “Struggle” legacy, now had it in their power to extend this successful record to other parts of the country.

To break the “ridiculous” syndrome of people toyi-toying against bad service delivery one day and voting for the governing party the next, the DA was saying to them: “Lend us your vote” to give it a chance to meet their requirements. Given the extent of government corruption and its dire impact on economic growth and job creation, the DA needed to get as much support as it could so as to save South Africa. It had, Bloom said, become as urgent as that.

Both events included a focus on the Israel-Palestine question. It was accepted, that the DA’s traditionally measured and nuanced policy on the matter had not changed at all. However, it was suggested that there was a disconnect between official DA policy and implementing it when issues arose at parliamentary level.

The party had failed, for example, to oppose measures aimed at boycotting and delegitimising Israel, such as in the BDS-inspired cancellation of South Africa’s participation in an agricultural conference there.

Bloom said that better communication was needed to convey the party’s true position to the community. He nevertheless pointed out that at the recent International Relations Parliamentary Portfolio Committee discussion on the outcomes of the Solidarity Conference on Palestine, the DA had not only helped ensure that the final declaration adopted was a greatly watered-down one, but had even joined with the ACDP in still voting against it.

In introducing Dudley at the following day’s lunch meeting, SAZF Vice-Chairman Ben Swartz described the ACDP as having been, often to their own detriment, the “greatest and truest friend of the Jewish and Zionist community in South Africa”.

Dudley observed that by providing the Jewish community with another option, the DA had been made to realise that it could no longer take its support for granted. In the course of her presentation, she outlined the philosophy and modus operandi of the ACDP as a Christian, Biblical-based party that nevertheless had to be realistic in terms of what could practically be achieved.

In a democratic society, nobody could be compelled to follow Christian-Biblical precepts, but by the same token, government did not have the right to impose secularism on the population, such as in interfering with the way religious communities chose to bring up their children.

Dudley rejected the argument that voting for the smaller parties was a wasted vote, pointing to the many successes the ACDP had been able to achieve in influencing government policy and as an honest broker in facilitating constructive debate when this was so often paralysed by the bitter rivalry between the ruling party and the official opposition.  

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