EDITORIAL: The DA’s toxic Twitter
The party shows why it deserves little sympathy – or support
You can imagine the DA feels sore after failing, in the polls, to capitalise on the ANC’s numerous — and spectacular — political missteps over the past few years. But far from taking some time for introspection, the party has spent the past week demonstrating just why South Africans of any real liberal stripe would do well to steer clear of it.
The DA pitches itself as the only really authentic — or at least the loudest — liberal voice in SA’s political landscape. And ahead of the 2019 polls, it expressly set out to court the black middle-class vote under that rubric. But from MP Ghaleb Cachalia’s casual homophobic misogyny on Twitter, to Helen Zille’s grossly offensive "black privilege" misstep, to MP Michael Cardo looking to score points on Twitter by making light of an apparent suicide, the party showed why it deserves little sympathy — or support.
Most of the post-election focus has fallen on Mmusi Maimane and whether the party’s failure was indicative of his failure as leader. Maimane may deserve some of that opprobrium — he has, after all, failed to rein in Zille and her ilk (she still clings stubbornly to her "truth" about colonialism, for example). And even in this instance it took him until Tuesday to step in with a lacklustre response.
But one does sympathise with him, weighed down as he is by the baggage of an imploding organisation.