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Opposition Democratic Alliance steps up international lobbying

Aiming to lead a coalition against the ruling ANC in next year's elections, opposition activists are hiring image-makers

Buoyed by recent opinion polls that suggest that they could deny the African National Congress an outright majority at the 2024 general elections for the first time since 1994, the opposition Democratic Alliance is stepping up its international outreach in Washington DC.

The DA has hired K-Street lobbyists KRL International on a monthly retainer of R300.000 ($16,500) with a mandate to 'build an understanding of the Democratic Alliance's policies and values in the United States as the largest opposition party in the country'. 

Surveys by the Social Research Foundation in October put the DA on 31%, with the ANC's vote share dropping to 45%. If translated into votes at an election that would leave the ANC reliant on votes from Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters or an unstable alliance of other opposition parties (Dispatches 1/11/22, Polling hints at opposition breakthrough).

According to the contract filed under the United States State Department's Foreign Agents Registration Act, KRL will also be expected to 'showcase the successes of the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape in support of the economic development of the Western Cape; including its potential for foreign direct investment, tourism and other activities that generate opportunity and employment for the region.' 

KRL will also be lobbying for 'a robust renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act benefiting South Africa's industries'. At an AGOA summit in South Africa earlier this month, the Biden administration confirmed that it would renew the tariff and quota free deal for African exports but has left open the possibility of reforming the trade pact. 

Founded by veteran lobbyist Riva Levinson, KRL has previously advised the UNITA party in Angola, the New Patriotic Party in Ghana, Kosmos Oil company, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Malawi's Joyce Banda. (AC Vol 58 No 9, Finding Africa on K Street & Dispatches 9/8/22, George Weah signs up more Washington spin doctors). KRL has earned a reputation as one of the most aggressive lobbying shops in Washington DC.

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