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Consistently inconsistent, the DA's white leaders were unable to summon up outrage against Dianne Kohler Barnard when she was seen lauding PW Botha's regime. They could not share black South Africans' outrage at the racist antics of the Sparrows and Mombergs.

After Lindiwe Mazibuko quit the DA, and Phumzile van Damme and Mbali Ntuli quit their leadership positions in the party, they have now chucked out Patricia de Lille with dodgy, shifting explanations. One suspects they are unable to abide the far-from-white style of the pugnacious Cape Town mayor, whom Leon warned against when she joined the party. It seems his view has prevailed.

Last week, the white leaders were appalled by Mmusi Maimane's comments about white privilege, again with an eye on their white base, but also because this was their visceral response, their socialised white instinct.

The white leaders of the DA don't have a clue what black South Africans think about and how they perceive their reality and history, and if they do happen to get a faint glimmer, they are driven to apoplexy. Black people who voted for the DA in recent elections, more than likely born after 1985, probably are not aware that the party's precursor, the Progressive Party, wanted only rich or educated black people to have the vote. It was only after Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert took over the leadership of the reincarnated Progressive Federal Party that it called for a universal franchise. The DA is still the party of Tony Leon, not of Helen Suzman, and far from that of Slabbert. When Leon became the party's leader, he contested the 1999 election with a "fight back" campaign that was meant to appeal to supporters of the apartheid-era National Party. The campaign deliberately stopped just short of openly calling on white people to vote for a party that would fight against Nelson Mandela's ANC...

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