Helen Zille. Picture: VELI NHLAPO/THE SOWETAN
Helen Zille. Picture: VELI NHLAPO/THE SOWETAN

It is traditional at the beginning of a new year to look back and say what was the best or worst of this or that. In the category of despicable political acts, the 2017 winner must be the DA’s assassination of its erstwhile leader Helen Zille — an embarrassment that rolled disloyalty, opportunism, reputational damage and political miscalculation into one desperate act.

The DA mistook Twitter for reality and chose to dump its principles of freedom of speech and ideas and rather indulge in the pursuit of votes, when in fact there were only three constituencies making all the noise: the ANC and political parties wanting to take advantage of the DA’s weakness for political correctness; commentators and talk-show race warriors; and Johnny-come-lately DA politicians who saw career opportunities in getting rid of one who held the line on true liberalism.

To sacrifice that person of integrity and your own stated principles in pursuit of votes is bad enough but especially so when it may prove illusory. Potential black voters may agree with Zille or may never have heard about the controversy, while doubt has set in on the DA’s judgment and its ANC-lite policies.

Zille was stabbed in the back in the twilight of her career by her own party. Disgraceful!

Sydney Kaye
Cape Town