Mmusi Maimane. Picture: SOWETAN
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: SOWETAN

If ever the opposition parties in SA should be smelling blood, it is now. The ANC has never been more vulnerable in its 23 years in power. Given the allegations around state capture, the potential for corruption becomes greater the longer the party stays in office. And it has made life much harder for itself with the awful clumsiness of its responses.

At this time of great opportunity, the DA is at best gazing at its navel, and at worst tearing itself apart. Regardless of what Western Cape premier Helen Zille said about colonialism in her admiring remarks about Singapore, and whether her argument is logically defensible, politics is seldom about logic. Politically, she has become a liability.

That at least is the view of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who has made it clear that he disagrees strongly with Zille’s remarks and dissociates the party from her. He calculates that he needs to reassure present and potential black voters, and that he can risk alienating white voters in his attacks on Zille. But he may be overplaying his hand. He should let the DA’s internal disciplinary process run its course and save his energy for making the ANC writhe as it tries to deal with the great embarrassment that is Jacob Zuma.

An opposition leader doesn’t always have the chance to put the knife in. Maimane has been sharpening the blade for the wrong target.

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