25. Juni 2017

South African opposition party's self-amputation

In retrospect there is no doubt that Helen Zille´s tweets were imprudent and completely unnecessary. But there is equally no doubt that they were not incorrect with regard to the facts. Nor do they contain any appraisal or exculpation whatsoever of the former system of oppression as a whole. And as these comments came from a person rightly renowned as a proven anti-colonialist fiercely opposed to apartheid it appears all the more malicious to qualify them as racist, though I am fully aware that this sledgehammer argument meanwhile has become current coin in South Africa in want of logical arguments. Still, Mrs Zille has clarified her intentions and expressly apologized to everyone who might have been offended by her remarks.

Notwithstanding the Democratic Alliance (DA), led by resentful and begrudging opponents pepping up the public frenzy and in the wake of a disputable judicial process, has stripped its merited former leader of all her party functions.

This, I am convinced, is evidence of shameful inadequacy and proof of lack of self-assurance as well as common sense on behalf of the DA. Apart from the absence of Helen Zille´s experienced advice this fatal action will probably result in an inner division of the DA at a moment when strong united opposition in the political arena is more than ever needed. That is what affects the DA adversely rather than the tweets. And furthermore this inner conflict and its outward appearance can well be interpreted as weakness and soapiness towards the African National Congress (ANC), all the more so, when one of the reasons cited by the DA is that the ANC has taken advantage of those tweets against Mrs. Zille and the DA.  

As a foreigner passing considerable time in South Africa and caring for the country and its future I have had and shown a lot of sympathy for the DA. Now, being thoroughly disappointed, I am afraid I have to desist.

Guest comment by Klaus Stadtmüller        

24. Juni 2017

Democratic Alliance or Fear & Opportunism

On June  3, 2017 Mr. Mmusi Maimane, leader of the South African oppostion party Democratic Alliance (DA) announced the dismissal of Western Cape Prime Minister and former DA leader Helen Zille of all her functions in the party. While the governing ANC is looting the country more and more shamlessly Helen Zille's only crime was to have tweeted that not all what colonialism brought was bad citing the rule of law amongst others. No help that Ms Zille has an impeccable struggle record having been the first to investigate the murder of antiapartheid hero Steve Biko and having given shelter to underground fighters in here home, No help that she managed to broaden the electorate of the formerly tiny opposition party to 22 % of votes, No help that the province she governs is the only well run in the whole country. She must go. May be, later on even as Premier of the Western Cape.

One may ask why a party divests herself of such an accomplished leader. The answer is as simple as it is alarming. Mr. Maimane and his faction within the DA are fearing the governing ANC and his defamation campaign against Ms. Zille. Mr. Maimane wants to win more black votes, whatever the political costs may be. Helen Zille's fault: she is white and she is outspoken. Mmusi Maimane still has to prove that his strategy dictated by fear and opportunism will be succesful. One looser is already manifest, the very democracy which the DA claims to cherish above all.

As an occasional  however minor supporter of the DA I asked the local and national authorities to show more level headed leadership and refrain from punishing Ms. Zille because of a trifle (see my blog entry of March 25, 2017). I never got an answer although the DA claims to come back to any query within a couple of days. You are very welcome to support but ask no questions and don't criticise, please. In that respect the DA is not far from the ruling ANC. Both insist on absolute loyality.