DA's interim leader John Steenhuisen.

THE Democratic Alliance has adopted the principle of non-racialism at its virtual policy conference on Saturday.

The party’s conference was attended by more than 200 delegates the DA’s policy conference, the party’s federal chair Ivan Meyer confirmed on Friday.

“The DA unequivocally stands for non-racialism not multiracialism,” the party said on Saturday.

“Nonracialism is the rejection of race as a way to categorise and treat people, particularly in legislation. The assumption that one’s “race” represents people who think, feel, or have the same experience of shared events, based on their physical appearance, is false,” the conference delegates agreed.”

Race remains one of the controversial issues in the DA, which has seen the party criticised for its stance on issues such as black economic empowerment (BEE), expropriation of land without compensation and affirmative action.

Earlier this year, DA’s head of policy Gwen Ngwenya argued in a draft document that “the DA unequivocally stands for nonracialism, not multi-racialism”. 

“The assumption that one’s ‘race’ represents people who think, feel or have the same experience of shared events, based on their physical appearance, is false,” the document said.

Former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba and former leader Mmusi Maimane resigned last year in the wake of Helen Zille being elected DA federal council chair.

Zille has nailed her colours to the mast, telling the Cape Town Press Club in October that the party should unashamedly reject BEE and affirmative action based on race.

Mashaba said in his resignation speech that he could not reconcile himself “with a group of people who believe that race is irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in SA”.

Maimane, on the other hand, said in his speech that a grouping in the DA did not see eye-to-eye with him advocating for more “black South Africans, more women, and for greater language and cultural diversity”. 

(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)

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