Democratic Alliance


Helen Zille

International affiliation

Liberal International


social liberalism centrism liberalism

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is a South African political party, the governing party in the Western Cape province, and the official opposition to the ruling African National Congress. The party traces its roots to the anti-Apartheid movement of the 1970s and 1980s, during which time it was known variously as the Progressive Party, the Progressive Reform Party, and the Progressive Federal Party. During this time, the party featured prominent anti-Apartheid activists like Helen Suzman, Colin Eglin, Harry Schwarz and Frederik van Zyl Slabbert. During the 1990s the party was known as the Democratic Party, and it changed its name again, to the DA, during a short-lived alliance with the New National Party (NNP) and a smaller party in 2000. More recently, the party entered into a merger with the Independent Democrats, but retained its existing name.[1]

The present leader of the Democratic Alliance is former Cape Town mayor and Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille, who took over from Tony Leon in May 2006. Zille, the World Mayor of the Year in 2008,[2] opted against moving to theNational Assembly, where the party is instead led by Athol Trollip.

Trollip leads a parliamentary caucus of 77 members—67 in the National Assembly, 10 in the National Council of Provinces -- who also make up the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet. The Democratic Alliance's federal chairperson is Dr. Wilmot James, the chairperson of the party's federal executive is James Selfe and Lindiwe Mazibuko is the DA's national spokesperson. As of July 2010, Makashule Gana is the DA's Youth Leader, and Mbali Ntuli is the DA Youth Chairperson. Jonathan Moakes is the party's CEO.

The DA is broadly centrist, though it has been attributed both centre-left[3] and centre-right[4] policies.