As the ANC continues to disintegrate, it is becoming more important to assess the quality of available alternatives.
As a result, opposition parties like the DA and the EFF come into sharp focus.
Whilst this may remove focus from the ANC for a while, possibly giving it reprieve from constantly negative but well deserved assessment, it is necessary to deal with the issues bedevilling opposition parties.
If there is a likelihood of a coalition government in 2019, it is best we thrash out the most pressing issues now, before we extend our amazingly timeless goodwill to these parties.
The unbelievable lack of wisdom displayed by Helen Zille, the former DA leader and current premier of the Western Cape, in making her ill-conceived tweets presents just such an opportunity.
Whilst it initially seemed that Zille had sort of understood the reason for the widespread condemnation of her tweets, she later wiped out her attempted apology completely.
Zille’s remarkable lack of wisdom, if not her alienation from the experienced realities of South Africa, drove her to try and defend herself in her article, “From the inside: lessons from Singapore” (Daily Maverick, March 20).
In so doing she made things worse, as is often the case when someone tries to defend something that is offensive.
An apology is often best when it is just that, with no attempt at lengthy explanation unless an explanation is solicited.
Even then, an explanation needs to be an explanation, not some exculpatory defence.
A defence is required when one is under attack.
But if there is no attack to speak of and you have made a mistake, realise it, acknowledge it, apologise for it, and zip your lip.
Responding as if one is under attack shows that you do not understand the offence you have caused or do not accept that it was entirely an error on your part.
I actually found Zille’s article of the developmental trajectory of Singapore very interesting.
That was until she deviated from recounting her experiences and lessons and went on to try to defend her offensive tweets.
“I had learnt that in partially free Singapore, one can express an opinion on these matters, but not in free South Africa,” wrote Zille.
This is completely untrue.
In actual fact, Zille has been able to tweet – or mistweet – for so long precisely because she can freely express an opinion.
However, it also seems that Zille thinks her tweets did not deserve the response they got.
It is as if she thinks her opinions are superior and those who felt hurt ought to accept the superiority of her argument and forget the hurt.
Maybe she thinks the hurt is unjustified. Sadly, it is her opinions which are.
“While travel broadens the mind, I tend to forget that, on returning to South Africa, it is best to shrink your mind again to fit the contours of political correctness.
“Especially if you are white,” continued Zille, pulling the race card in a single-minded act of burying herself completely.
Could it be, after the many years Zille has worked tirelessly against this very politically immature tactic, passionately perfected by the ANC, that she has finally taken a page out of their book?
If Zille believes what she wrote, why actually did she apologise?
And tell me, was she implying that South Africans, especially those who are not “white”, are small-minded?
What is more important is for us to agree that the horror of colonialism cannot be argued for or defended in any way. The “benefits” Helen alludes to can only be appreciated by those who were the darlings of colonialism.
Rather, let us build a nation along what African thought suggests – that we are all human and that co-operation leads us further than contest. That’s ubuntu, by the way!