TOM EATON: No, dear DA supporters, allowing a contestation of ideas is the way to keep a party strong
Rounding on Phumzile van Damme for breaking ranks and taking on Helen Zille shows how political organisations rot
Facebook and Twitter are fantastically stupid but they are also fantastically powerful. In just a few years they have persuaded Americans to believe Russians that they should elect Donald Trump, and convinced the UK to shoot off its own kneecaps and call it freedom. And this week they revealed a dramatic truth about the DA.
It started, as it so often does in the DA, with a couple of tweets by Helen Zille, urging the nation to shoot off not just its kneecaps but also its face. (For more, Google “tax revolt”.) Many, presumably rich people with dual citizenship were delighted by the plan. Those who will have to continue living in the Thunderdome once the dust settles were less thrilled. But few took as public a stand against Zille’s idea as the DA’s own Phumzile van Damme. Taking to Twitter, she threw a gentle variety of what the children call shade at the Western Cape premier, asking Zille to provide more details of what Baldrick might have described as a cunning plan. When Zille wrote in another tweet that she was “waiting for the virtue-signalling trolls to get going” — down, boy, it’s just a dog whistle — Van Damme seemed to feel the sting of a criticism aimed personally at her, replying: “I am not as you describe below. It would be insulting if you dismissed healthy debate & questions from your colle...