African business, politics and lifestyle
The Cape of storms?
South African opposition leader Helen Zille has not endeared herself to the majority of voters who recently handed the ruling African National Congress a landslide victory in the national polls.
Zille came under fire from her political enemies for her appointment of a predominantly white and almost completely male cabinet in the Western Cape, the province where her DA party took power from the ANC.
She retaliated by attacking President Jacob Zuma, calling him a “self-confessed womaniser with deeply sexist views, who put all his wives at risk by having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman”.
That referred to Zuma’s acknowledgement that he had such contact during a trial on rape charges of which he was acquitted. The row has ended any suggestion that after Zuma’s election, there might be a period of better relations between the government and opposition.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe , said Zille has “elevated herself from being the leader of the official opposition to being the enemy”.
Quite apart from the name-calling, the row also looks as though it could distract attention from the opposition’s own efforts to present itself as an alternative to the ANC.
It is not the first time that South Africa’s opposition has found itself caught in a war of words with the ANC rather than showing what it will do differently.
Zille’s opponents say she is still to answer the question over the gender and racial balance in her Western Cape cabinet. Does that matter? What will it mean for her chances of winning over voters from the black African majority, who so clearly backed the ANC in the election? What will it mean for South Africa’s prospects if the government and main opposition are so quickly at each other’s throats?