DA adopts diversity clause, but rejects quotas, at congress
The Democratic Alliance has rejected replicating a quota system in its ranks during a discussion on Constitutional amendments at its federal congress in Tshwane.
The party started debating the first of 105 amendment suggestions on Saturday, proposed by leader Mmusi Maimane.
Maimane wanted diversity to be added as the party's fourth pillar, along with freedom, fairness, and opportunity, and to "replicate diversity in its own ranks".
The amendment sparked heated debate in the run-up to the conference, with some, including MPs Gavin Davis and Michael Cardo, rejecting diversity on the basis of race and gender, arguing for diversity of thought.
On Saturday, delegates were told that an amendment was made at the outgoing federal council's last meeting the night before on Friday, to change the wording of Maimane's suggestion.
Rather than "replicate" diversity in its ranks, it would rather "promote and advance" diversity in its ranks.
More importantly, an extra point was added to reject "rigid formulae or quotas" when promoting diversity, which would sit under section 1 - a different section - of the DA's Constitution.
There was a smattering of applause when Cardo justified the need for the rejection of quotas in its systems.
Delegates ultimately voted for both proposals, meaning Maimane's diversity amendment passed, but so did the rejection of a quota system in the party.
Later in the debate, some delegates raised the issue that amendment suggestions were changed overnight by the federal council. Congress was meant to be the highest decision-making body in the party, they argued.
Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela explained that, for the sake of practicality, there was nothing wrong with the federal council making suggestions, as it was the highest decision-making body in between conferences.
However, Congress had the final say during a congress, and it was up to delegates, he said to applause.
The amendment suggestions continued on Saturday.