I think it was Napoleon Bonaparte who said “never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake”.
That is advice Western Cape Premier Helen Zille seems to never have come across.
The ANC has been busy making a series of blunders on all fronts for the past few months, if not years.
In fact, the unspoken consensus among political analysts is that the ANC in its current form is a gift that keeps on giving – to the opposition, that is.
President Jacob Zuma is the cherry on top.
So, all should be well in the camp of the official opposition, shouldn’t it? Well, not quite.
The lady who gave us the Democratic Alliance as we know it today is hellbent on – if not interrupting the ANC while they are busy committing their most blatant blunders to date – helping to distract from those blunders.
In the midst of the whole country screaming for the head of the president, the erstwhile leader of the DA saw fit to tweet in praise of the unseen and little-acknowledged benefits that colonialism bestowed on its subjects.
That she has been charged and is facing disciplinary processes within the DA is old news. What is worrisome is that, like a raging bull in a china shop, she has chosen not to go down without a fight.
That would not be a problem if the only political obituary she was busy writing was hers alone, but in choosing to take on the leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane, in public, she is dragging him and the party down a road they cannot afford to be on right now.
They should now be basking in the glory provided by the continued bungles of the ruling party, but she has chosen to go very public with her desire to contribute to the nature of public discourse in South Africa. A public discourse that has seen fit to “demonise everything white”, with young black students going back to the angry writings of Frantz Fanon to justify their rage.
What happened to leaving DA Youth to fight their own battles in the contest of ideas in the public discourse?
When Zille cries foul about the suppression of “white opinion” soon after tweeting about the positives of colonialism, she does exactly what her party always accuses the ANC and the president of doing: “playing the race card” to stifle debate.
There is no need for any white person to feel stifled on the debate on decolonisation and the black majority unshackling themselves from the suffocating clutches of a system that has defined every single aspect of their existence for centuries.
That debate, like the right of minority groups to define themselves in the current dispensation, cannot be delegated to groups or individuals outside those groups.
What Madam Zille fails to see is that going on the rampage after having been charged by her party plays into the hands of those who have always argued that she is the piper and Maimane dances to her tune.
She’s destroying her own legacy within the DA.
Only a fool would argue against the assertion that Zille transformed the DA into the force it is today. She single-handedly fought off the old guard who were content to have the DA as a bastion of all the relics of the former Democratic Party and National Party.
She became so powerful that she could hand-pick her own successor.
But power is seductive and she misses being at the centre of it. Someone please tell her she would thrive in retirement, as has been suggested by one of our most respected political analysts and columnists.