Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
23 Oct 2019
10:55 am

‘Constant harping on racism’ drove DA voters to FF+, says former federal chairperson

Citizen Reporter

Preoccupation with race is responsible for 'pushing' former DA voters to the 'extremes' of 'minority parties', says Douglas Gibson.

Former Democratic Alliance (DA) federal chairperson Douglas Gibson. Picture: (

Douglas Gibson, once the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) federal chairperson under Tony Leon, as well as its former chief whip and a former ambassador to Thailand, said in an interview on SAFM that he believed “constant harping on racism” had driven DA voters to “minority parties”.

This follows a question from interviewer Stephen Grootes on whether Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s cooperation with the Economic Freedom Fighters caused former DA voters to opt for the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

Gibson said he doubted this was the case, and shortly afterwards said the following:

“If anything is responsible for pushing people to extremes, pushing people out of the DA and into minority parties, it’s this constant harping on racism which is making white people very tired and sick of it, it’s not only Afrikaans-speaking white people who feel it, it’s all of us,” he said.

He added that the African National Congress (ANC) “has ceased to be a party which represents white people at all” as it had “hardly a white face” in any of its structures, which indicated “its whole history of being non-racial is thrown out the window”.

“EFF is an out and out racist party which can say and do things and get away with the most mind-blowing statements, that other people will end up in court about, and nobody seems to do anything about the EFF and its racial utterances,” he continued.

He said the “issue of race” was one which plagued not just political parties but “companies, schools, [and] any organisation in South Africa has to deal with the issue of race”.

READ MORE: SA has ‘racists of all races’, but Dianne Kohler Barnard isn’t one of them – Zille

Earlier, he rejected the suggestion that the FF+’s growth and the DA’s decline was due to the DA-led Johannesburg government’s cooperation with the EFF.

“I doubt that people went to the Freedom Front Plus because of that reason, the Democratic Alliance is the most diverse political party in South Africa and certainly in SA history,” he said.

He added that “the party is really very serious about becoming more so”.

“The white voters … are now 8% of the electorate and falling because of [an] ageing white population, small birth rate, and immigration.

“So any party that wants to rely on a minority like the whites for its support is doomed to get smaller and smaller, so it would be stupid to do anything other [than to] seek to represent the whole of SA.

“But that really does mean we’re all equal, that you can’t give special deals to special groups,” he added.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.) 

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.