Defend Truth


If we end up with an ANC-EFF coalition, blame it on the DA


Melanie Verwoerd is a former ANC MP and South African ambassador to Ireland.

For coalitions to succeed it is important that parties, in particular minority partners, come to the table with a sense of humbleness — something the DA is not known for.

I am often approached for analysis of the South African political landscape by international investors, and with the election nearing I have spoken to many in the last few weeks. Interestingly, their biggest concern was always the quality of the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) leadership.

Given that the latest opinion polls put ANC support around 40%, investors are aware that the ANC might have to choose between the EFF and DA in order to remain in government. If current polls are correct this will also be the case in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KZN (assuming MK doesn’t get above 30%) and even the Free State.

ANC insiders insist that the governing party would only enter into a coalition with the EFF as a last resort. Aware of the chaos the EFF has caused in local government coalitions, they would prefer — albeit begrudgingly — a coalition with the DA should their support fall below 45%.

International and local investors generally agree that an ANC-EFF coalition would be disastrous for the economy and that a coalition with the DA (and/or the IFP and smaller parties), would be preferable.  However, many have serious concerns about whether the DA “will come to the table” and do what is best for the country — a concern I share.

It is well known that the DA national leadership vetoed a possible coalition with the FF+ and Patriotic Alliance (PA) in the City of Johannesburg in 2022, because of their objection to Gayton McKenzie (the leader of the PA). Such a coalition would have meant a DA mayor as well as control of the mayoral committee and could have resulted in significant improvements in service delivery to long-suffering citizens of Johannesburg.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections hub

It seems Helen Zille and John Steenhuisen decided to rather let the city fall apart than make the deal. It worries investors (and should concern South Africans) that this “let it rather burn and we will later pick up the pieces” attitude might also prevail after the election in May.

For coalitions to succeed it is important that parties (in particular minority partners) come to the table with a sense of humbleness – something the DA is not known for. All parties would like to get as much as they can during negotiations, but these demands need to be realistic. For example, the positions of deputy president, minister of finance or foreign affairs would be a no-go from the start.

In our country, an awareness of racial and gender sensitivities is also vital.

On the offensive

One cannot ignore the shortcomings of the current DA leadership in this regard. Apart from the well-known Helen Zille colonialism debacle, it seems that John Steenhuisen is particularly tone-deaf when it comes to gender and racial sensitivities.

Last year, for example, there was outrage after he described his ex-wife as “roadkill”. Apart from the obvious misogyny, such a comment was particularly unwise in a country where 3 million more female voters are registered than men.

He is also prone to attack commentators and journalists personally if they dare say something critically about him. Recently for example, he launched a vicious personal attack on Nicole Fritz (formerly from the Helen Suzman Foundation) after she spoke at a conference about the need for new leadership in South Africa. I, and many other journalists have experienced his targeted outrage through social media or via phone calls. (I presume he will retaliate after this column again).

In January millions reacted angrily on social media after he criticised the appointment of crime wardens in Gauteng by premier Panyaza Lesufi. “He took your tax money to buy ill-fitting Pep Stores uniforms for untrained cadres and pretended they were ‘crime wardens’. What kind of person pulls a drunkard out of a shebeen, gives him a uniform and a weapon, and then unleashes them onto a community?” he said.

The reference to a shebeen leaves little doubt about the racial undertone of his comment.

During a speech in Paarl recently, he attacked smaller parties such as Rise Mzansi, Good and Patriotic Alliance for running in the elections in the Western Cape. “Why are they coming to the Western Cape?” he asked. “I thought about this and will tell you why. Because they know there is nothing left to loot in the other provinces… They want to get their hands on the budget and the money… and let me tell you if they get that right, it’s going to be the biggest bank heist you have ever seen….Within a few months the money will be finished in this province.”

Of course, the only thing that Rise Mzansi, Good and Patriotic Alliance have in common is that they have black leaders. If Steenhuisen is to be believed, these parties are not contesting elections in a DA-controlled province as part of the constitutionally protected democratic process, but only because they want to steal money.

Statements such as these don’t go unnoticed by local or international investors and should trouble all of us. They raise serious questions about the DA leadership’s ability to form and maintain a stable coalition agreement with the ANC, which could push the ANC into the arms of the EFF.  The DA has a responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t happen and if we do end up with the EFF in government, the DA would have to take responsibility for much of the subsequent disaster. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mthokozisi Nkosi says:

    This is shallow. IF we end up with ANC-EFF coalition VOTERS would be to blame. The burden of responsibility being place on the DA is unfortunately ridiculous. While perhaps the comments the DA leader has made are unfortunate but it cannot be that the party is blamed for South African voters who continue to vote for parties that have done very little to improve their lives. Voters have a responsibility to choose the parties they vote for wisely. There are many other parties they can vote for if they find that the DA doesn’t truly represent them, and even then the voters will have to live with their choices. You cannot expect the DA NOT to fight for its position in the Western Cape. It is mind blowing how the DA is always singled out as being at fault for the voters poor choices.

    • Jason Van Wyngaard says:

      Agree 100%. Well said.

    • Stanislaw Hohowsky says:

      Thank you!!! Agree 100%

    • Graeme J says:

      Don’t forget that the writer is an ANC stooge. She was even an ANC MP. How dare she blame the poor choices of the corrupt ANC and EFF leadership on the DA!

    • Kevin Venter says:

      Very well said Mthokozisi. All I will say is that the ANC’s track record or lack thereof, speaks for itself. The DA is not perfect and Steenhuizen’s comments are not great and probably go a long way to keeping traditional ANC voters voting ANC . At least the DA has done a far better job of managing the municipal areas that it is directly responsible for than what the ANC has and what the EFF ever will.

      • Malcolm Mitchell says:

        Not sure if Verwoerd’s surname indicates a relationship with the person who dragged SA into oblivion, nearly. Sounds very familiar to what her possible ancestor gabbled on about in her attacks on the DA, under another name, during the despotic NP illegal regime. Perhaps she has a guilt complex.

        • D'Esprit Dan says:

          Granddaughter of HF Verwoerd and ex-ANC MP. So what? As a DA voter for over 30 years (including PFP, DP etc) I think Melanie is spot on in her critique of the DA leadership and their lost opportunity to create a more cohesive and strong opposition to the ANC and, lord forbid, EFF.

          I actually find it quite amusing how defensive DA supporters are of Steenhuisen and Zille, whilst so many accuse ANC supporters of exactly the same thing!

          • Paddy Ross says:

            DA supporters believe that Steenhuisen and Zille speak the truth which many people do not like to hear. One might not like the way they say it but “Don’t shoot the messenger, read the message”. But the main reason why DA supporters support the DA is that the DA can govern metros and municipalities effectively, whereas the ANC supporters support the ANC because many of them benefit personally financially from ANC corruption, forget the public service they are supposed to deliver.

          • Niek Joubert says:

            If your facts about Verwoerd are so wrong, how can we believe anything you say? Verwoerd is married to HF Verwoerd’s grandson.

          • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

            You’re fiddling while Rome burns Dan. Frankly who cares about opinion. What does it do for anyone? I can find a 1000 people who disagree with you – easily.

            Me? I just want 2 things from a political party:

            1. law and order
            2. service delivery

            And Zille and Steenhuizen are the people who provide it.

            So they get my vote without a shadow of a doubt.

        • Dietmar Horn says:

          Her birth name was Fourier. She was married to Wilhelm Verwoerd, a grandson of Hendrik Verwoerd.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Thank you. I completely agree.

      If one cuts through all the noise, the only measures of a party truly relevant to all of us are:

      1. its adherence to, and enforcement of law and order; and

      2. its service delivery to all our people

      Applying these real measures, the DA is CLEARLY head and shoulders above all other parties.

      I for one will be very sad for all of us should the DA not make the gains they truly deserve in this next election as we will all lose – black, coloured, white, indian, man, woman, and child.

      Please Melanie think carefully about what future you would like for yourself and your family, because I promise you articles like the above will not help you achieve it.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      100% agree that the DA has to fight its corner – it’s just the way it does it that rankles many, myself included. Zille and Steenhuisen are tone deaf and couldn’t read a room with Google Maps. They appear to be content to appeal to their base only and anything beyond that is a bonus.

      Sure, attack other parties if you must, but base it on track record, not stooping into the Kool Aid gutter of the ANC, EFF and ‘revolutionary parties’. More importantly, back your track record and demonstrate to voters that you offer (ironically) a better life for all than the alternatives, including new parties. Personally, I think that the likes of Songezo Zibi, Mmusi Maimane, Lindiwe Mazibuko, Herman Mashaba and others would add great character and popularity to the DA, if the small inner circle would allow other voices.

      The current DA leadership has had a golden opportunity to build a much more inclusive opposition over the last decade than it has, and needs to take the blame for not doing so. The politics of arrogance and dismissal, of control and entitlement of the DA inner circle is not comforting to me – it smacks of the same traits in the ANC. Instead of straining at the bit to remain above 20%, it could have been gunning for 30% and more – who knows, even maybe the largest share of the vote. DA loyalists need to take this on board and demand more of their leaders than simply fawning and defending in a thin-skinned manner that puts DA leaders beyond reproach. They’re not.

      • Eulalie Spamer says:

        Spot on!

      • Gareth Searle says:

        bring back Lindiwe Mazibuko. My favorite. would follow her anywere.

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        At a general level our world is imploding today because there is too much emphasis on tone and too little on reality.

        Sometimes, if one is correct the right thing to do is to say so, regardless of sensibilities.

        You are free to knock them of course as you please but Helen Zille and Steenhuizen both care deeply for all the people of this country and are frankly the only ones actually doing anything of real substance.

        And speaking personally I for one have had enough of political correctness and “tone” at the expense of our country and everyone in it. It is time to focus on the important things:

        1. rule of law
        2. service delivery

        …the rest is noise right now.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      The DA are a party that have done good management (eg Chris Pappas) but their leadership is very off-putting. This is a problem. Steenhuisen’s unerring ability to take aim and shoot himself squarely in the foot only reinforces the old slanders about the DA. Really, they need to shut him up or get him a better script writer.

      Also there are the constant attacks on new and small parties. This does two things
      1) Given that the DP polled <2% in 1994 (and under 10 five years later), it looks like them pulling up the ladder once you're on the inside. No! It doesn't look like that! It's what they're doing.
      2) Drives them into a corner maked "white conservatives" (which they're not, but that seems to be the vote that they seek)

      • John James says:

        Agree and specifically point 2 seems to be spot on. They should be aiming to become the majority party but only seem to be concerned to get enough votes to be the biggest of the rest

      • Rod H MacLeod says:

        If the DA leadership is “off-putting”, what the heck do you see in the leadership of the other parties?

      • Marcus Aurelius says:

        What is the alternative? There is none. Its either DA or the ANC or a combination of the even more contemptable. There are no solutions left in SA, only a series of varyingly bad options.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      I once said the DA and the ANC is what can work.
      I don’t agree with the DA focusing it’s resources in fighting for the WC which they already have, the same methods will broaden their base in a different language though, food parcels, tshirts, schools, clinics and supporting the elderly at paypoints, there is nothing to loose there and it’s for a good cause.

      • Marcus Aurelius says:

        There is a good chance the DA could lose the WC now that they have supported Israel. I agree with their stance, but it is going to lose them many Muslim voters in the WC, who are more concerned with events 6000km away than a well managed city and province. they will get the government they vote for and deserve.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Thank you. I completely agree. If one cuts through all the noise, the only measures of a party truly relevant to all of us are: 1. its adherence to, and enforcement of law and order; and 2. its service delivery to all our people Applying these real measures, the DA is CLEARLY head and shoulders above all other parties. I for one will be very sad for all of us should the DA not make the gains they truly deserve in this next election as we will all lose – black, coloured, white, indian, man, woman, and child. Please Melanie think carefully about what future you would like for yourself and your family, because if you want a country that actually works for all of us I promise you articles like the above will not help you achieve it.

    • Brett Redelinghuys says:

      Amen. 100% spot on

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Melanie, when you support incompetence and corruption – and your ANC oozes both like pus – you are in no position to throw stones anywhere.

      Have some integrity and own the simple fact that you and your ANC are killing South Africa for all of us.

      Frankly I don’t understand how any educated person of any race can support the ANC – they are so obviously poisonous for us all.

      And to try and justify their desperate cringy effort to cling to power by climbing into bed with an even more useless and corrupt EFF by casting blame on the one party in South Africa that is truly non-racial, and truly doing things for all of us literally makes me feel ill. It’s beyond pathetic.

      Too much? Oh dear. Sorry if I don’t agree.

      • ST ST says:

        I’ll give you a few reasons why I and other people are on the fence and some completely against DA.

        After it became clear that the ANC has completely lost its way, I tried to persuade people that the DA is the way to go. This changed for me about when I started to read DM comments earlier this year. I find more than a few DA supporters quite condescending. Add this to the fact that there are DA leaders who have expressed racist attitudes. DA and its supporters often come across as though they are above reproach or criticism. This comes off arrogant and unwilling to reflect, learn and do better. Any ‘ empathy’ towards blacks comes off as fake. Thankfully, some DA people are quite reasonable.

        Secondly poor people in the WC feel neglected, again this has been going on for a while and the DA needed to reassure this group.

        The last and big one those who were in SA 21 July is how black people were treated by other races in their own neighbourhoods. Even this weekend I was reminded by some people I spoke to about how they were humiliated by their white and Indian neighbours, stopped and searched like criminals. Swart gevaar was back and alive and was a stark reminder of what of the past and what they fear would happen again if a predominantly white government take over. These feelings are still very raw for these friends, family and neighbours. They recognise DA may do good, but are unwilling to take the risk.

        Other races shouldn’t have treated blacks like that. Big mistake

        • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

          I don’t believe you know what percentage of the Western Cape budget goes to the poor, because if you did you would likely sing a different song. Also, the DA has reduced load shedding by a level compared to the rest of the country. Take a moment to consider what that means to the economy and to the poor. Also ask yourself why the Western Cape is being flooded by the poor. It is because there is work; because there is opportunity.

          So much of what one reads is biased noise without substance specifically designed to undermine the very real and very tangible good that the DA does in our country.

          Take another moment to consider where we would be now if the DA hadn’t been pushing the government so hard at every possibility – nowhere good I can assure you.

          The reality is:
          – The DA is big and has the existing structures to run – and improve – our country in the desperately short time-frames we have available before SA implodes completely.
          – The DA has a proven track record of service delivery.
          – The DA has a proven record of aggressively driving and enforcing law and order
          – It is easy to talk a good game when you’re a nothing little startup party but the challenges are quite different at scale
          – Having a single strong opposition is more effective than having multiple small ones.

          I fully concede that the DA isn’t perfect – they are better. Much better.

          A DA vote a vote for law and order and for service delivery.

          Get these and the rest will follow.

        • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

          Also worth saying again is that this is not about race, although the many useless parties in our country try their level best to make it so.

          It is about economics.

          If every citizen had a million Rand I guarantee you the discussions we would all be having today would be entirely different.

          The first steps to get there require:
          1. law and order; and
          2. service delivery by our government.

          The DA will deliver both these things.

        • Marcus Aurelius says:

          Then you will get the government you deserve, poor service delivery, rising taxes, inflation and prices, all because you don’t like the attitude of the people who can actually do the job. Self defeating.

  • Garth Mason says:

    This is a bizarre article with only tenuous links to reason. Please don’t get me wrong I’m not a DA supporter. But deciding not to make a coalition with a more right-wing party must be commended?

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      Phew! I’m glad you made it clear you are not a DA supporter! I was worried for a moment. You obviously do not like right wing parties so I presume in addition to the FF+, the PA, ActionSA, Independent Cape types, the IFP, MK and the EFF, the religion based are not for you. . Maybe you are going for one of the proxy ANC parties such as Good or ATM. Or do you favour one of the new Messiah parties or even the Liberation ANC itself. Not the DA though!

      • Glyn Morgan says:

        Well said Sydney. Amazing how many gutless people open their comments by saying that they do not support the DA, then support it.

        OH! By the way, I do not support the ANC.

        • B M says:

          There is a book called “How to win friends and influence people”. I strongly suggest you read it. There may be some valuable lessons on tact and political nous you may benefit from.

  • Francois Smith says:

    No Melanie, if we fall into an ANC EFF coalition, your party, the ANC is to blame and along with Mthokozisi below, their voters. If the ANC managed the country and its resources properly, it should have easily won the election.
    Granted, and I agree with you, Steenhuizen is not the sharpest pencil in the pack, he cannot even answer an email, but to bring a years old Zille colonialism tweet of Zille into this, is really grabbing at straws. Why do you not also state the ANC should in fact not be the one to choose a coalition party? They in fact do not deserve to govern, if they are also in Steenhuizen fashion, are tone deaf to their own shortcomings and still blame apartheid. We all know that you cannot get enough of Cyril and praising him, but RSA is now worse off in comparison to when his administration started to govern. Go figure.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      And Zilles comment was not that untrue. Electricity is a Western thing and JHB had street lights before London, which I would think was something to be proud of. Such was colonialist progress in South Africa in the late 1800’s. Obviously we are now going backwards since then with it being taken away from us with as much haste as possible.

  • Willem Boshoff says:

    I cannot help but have a sense of disappointment when looking at the DA’s top leadership and their electioneering strategy. But the DA’s proven ability to govern makes them by far the best party to vote for the rational, informed voter. Placing the blame of a possible ANC-EFF coalition solely at the DA’s feet is however telling of another problem in SA: the MSM’s desperate need to find fault with the DA. The DA’s sins are orders of magnitude less than that of the criminal, incompetent parties littering the political landscape. Having principles is labeled “arrogance”; every uttering or tweet is scrutinised for a whiff of racism or being un-PC. Their successes are underplayed and their failures are compared to the disastrous ANC, as if there’s some sort of equivalence. If we end up with a ANC-EFF government the media is as much to blame, this author included.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      I think you’re missing the point of her piece – or maybe I’m giving it too much credit, whatever – but to me, the DA could have, and should have, done much, much, more to build a strong, credible and cohesive opposition to the ANC than it has. Almost every person or party that has had a parting of the ways with the DA in the last decade has cited the arrogance of the DA in not listening or not wanting to give an inch. Maybe it’s sour grapes, but maybe there is a grain of truth to it as well?

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Perhaps the DA simply has very high standards and not giving an inch could be wrongly perceived as being arrogant. Other parties may be more willing to bargain with their standards and values.

        • Gerrie Pretorius says:

          “You have to allow them to eat” comes to mind .…

        • B M says:

          Not sure if it has been stated before, but principles and politics don’t mix well. It seems to me (and possibly others) that the DA is positioning itself as a pragmatic party. But then contradicts itself with idealistic standards. Oil and water. The dissonance is obvious, and it shows the disconnect between the leadership of the DA and the rest of the party.

      • Willem Boshoff says:

        I do not disagree with you. Melanie however states the DA is fully to blame if we end up with a ANC-EFF government. What annoys me endlessly is not that the DA is called out for their errors or whatever, but that a different set of standards apply to them. Whenever they write a proper reply to accusations the media so eagerly peddle, one is left with a sense that their position is mostly justified. The only party that consistently gets the job done without major governance failures is the DA. That it is a so-called white, right-wing party (neither wholly true) gives a lot of people chest pains.

    • Rae Henderson says:

      Very well expressed. Thanks!

    • Ivan van Heerden says:

      If the DA didn’t have JS as its leader it would be doing a lot better. The arrogance of being the leader of the opposition and being unable to converse in a native South African language is simply staggering and points to a baaskap mindset.

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        I stand to be corrected, but English and Afrikaans are surely native languages of South Africa, amongst many other languages of numerous tribes. I doubt a high percentage of South Africans speak more than two languages fluently. What other language would you prefer JS to speak, knowing that many of the different members of the DA who come from different backgrounds speak different languages. Even our president speaks mostly english.

  • Stephan Britz says:

    Melanie – miskien moet jy liewer ‘n skinder kolom begin – jy het laaankal jou greep op wel-deurdagte artikels verloor.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    I’ve said it before, in our two previous elections, and I’ll say it again: The appallingly poor leadership of the DA have lost numerous opportunities to lead, but have dithered. These elections are there for the taking, but once again they will whinge and whine and blame everything else except themselves. I disagree with the comments that it’s the voters’ fault. The DA have allowed their shortsighted egos to dominate, and have used pathetic messaging to appeal for votes. One decent ad agency and a couple of good marketing psychology tactics would do wonders, but they have fumbled that one too. It’s a real shame because those dreadful thieves led by Ramaphosa, Zuma and Malema will, like all gangsters, cooperate to destroy what’s left. Me personally? I’m outta here. Even living with a lot less in overcrowded Europe, but with civilised people, is a far better option.

    • Denise Smit says:

      My grandfather was a Scott and my grandmother English in case you wonder

      • Bob Carter says:

        I don’t think anyone gave it a seconds thought Denise. You are welcome to your opinion however. But raising the Anglo Boer war to trash another individuals desire to move on, was just a little childish and tinged with spite. Take a chill-pill, pour yourself a nice glass of wine, and let others be – please.

      • Geoff Coles says:

        Scott is a surname in many English speaking countries…a Scot is somebody from Scotland.

    • Denise Smit says:

      Please stay there. Colonial England was responsible for 30 000 woman and children killed in the concentration camps in the Anglo Boer war. There you can practice your civilisation

    • Denise Smit says:

      This was genocide

      • Iam Fedup says:

        Denise, I am still in SA, & awaiting the outcome of the election. The UK is horrible, not just because of the weather. The English in particular with their own snobbiness, look down their hypocritical noses on successful Saffas. In southern Europe people are mostly warm, food is brilliant, & the weather is decent. Governments, police and the courts are honest in general, things and infrastructure actually work, businesses mostly do the right thing, and citizens don’t hate/kill each other for nothing. The media/press is always free – even when they write/broadcast utter drivel. Sure, Europe has it’s problems, like overcrowding, small spaces, refugees, & drug addiction, and I detest the wokeness and lack of sense of humour that appears once in a while. But some time living as a citizen, (not a tourist,) in Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, even France, leaves one with far less day-to-day stress than here, where you never know when a taxi travelling on the wrong side of the road will take out your family. With BEE making it impossible for any meritocracy, resulting in my sons’ inability to even study their first choice, (even with six distinctions,) never mind find a decent job later where they won’t have to carry an inefficient group of clueless colleagues, I want to be as close to them as possible and not have to pay Emirates R15k for a flight. It’s a personal choice, & since I hate the person who I have become, it’s likely I will make whatever sacrifice is necessary.

        • Gavin Williams says:

          England (sic!) is not quite as you suggest. We have had 2/3 crooked and nasty Prime Ministers – (and an incompetent 3rd), outsourcing COVID protection, , COVID patients from hospital wards to care homes. a cross-channel Ferry contract to a company without ferries. . Truss was, or course, incompetent beyond belief – shorting the pound wthout even intending to. Concrete school ceilings falling down in primary schools, For desert Parliament passing an Act saying Rwanda is a safe country because it says it is (OK if you are not an exiled Foreign Minister in Johannesburg), … Can it pass an Act saying that the earth is flat. South Africa is like Nigeria (where I have lived and on which I have published) – ‘shortages and all – Britain is increasingly like South Africa and Trump USA, far worse than Tory Britain, is highly possible.
          Gavin Williams

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Agree 100% with your sentiments on the DA, not so much your views on Europe!

  • Steve Broekmann says:

    It is a political truism that junior partners in a coalition become irrelevant. Melanie should not expect the DA to sacrifice itself to save the ANC

  • drew barrimore says:

    Is having this ANC wallflower part of our punishment for not paying for the Maverick? Did the author come as part of a three-for-the-price-of one writer deal (Cannot bring myself to call her a journalist). The vacuous, shallow, self-aggrandizing posture is sickening enough (pity it didn’t stay at News24 where at least her scribblings were paywalled), but the leaps of logic! Steenhuisen: one misguided light-hearted comment becomes a damnation of all men and he becomes the poster-boy of misogyny! The DA to blame? No, the voters are to blame, and ANC propagandists like the writer (with all that Verwoerdian guilt-baggage) are to blame. Please don’t have this woman in the Maverick anymore, keep her on Twitter where she belongs.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    This article has been written to explain that the DA has principles and is a direct attack on the leaders of the DA.

  • Amanda Simpson says:

    I for one am thrilled there was no deal-making with Geyton McKensie. His performance at The Gathering showed the vile creature he is! DA all the way

  • Martin Weightman says:

    After reading this piece , it sound rather personal , and not quite journalism if you fact are correct steenhuisen sound like a very unlikably person, but the fact that the DA has tried to formulate coalition before , with most of these small parties to no avail , I can understand why he does not wish to line the D A up for ridicule and as to looting the Western Cape ,there is a ring of truth .

  • Martin Neethling says:

    Verwoerd’s ANC roots indeed shine through when absolutely everything is the DA’s fault, even if it hasn’t happened yet, and it is the (white) DA leadership that mostly troubles. Blaming the Jhb council collapse (into the hands of the ANC coalition) on the DA’s unwillingness to negotiate is plain a-factual – McKenzie and the PA had an agreement in the DA coalition, they decided they could later ‘extract’ more, and with Beaumont and the ASA’s connivance, put the DA to terms. These are the facts.
    Many articles have flooded our journalistic space in the past 36 hours because Steenhuizen ‘attacked’ Rise Mzansi (and others), when indeed it was the unelected Zibi who declared that they have the Western Cape in their sights due to the DA’s racially skewed service delivery, another incorrect assertion. I am surely not alone in expecting some semblance of balanced and fair reporting. Branco Brkic makes a heartfelt appeal elsewhere in today’s publication to defend (and pay for) real journalism, which I support, but the quid pro quo is Accurate and Fair. This article from Verwoerd is neither. You can be as personally begrudging as you like, vote whoever your morning tea leaves dictate, slate every white politician that dares have an opinion, but you can’t choose your Facts.

    • Denise Smit says:

      I am so glad you attended to this Rize Mansi issue. He makes a demon of the DA everywhere he goes. He says he has “plans” to fix everything. Does he think the public is stupid not seeing through his superficial tacticts.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      “Branco Brkic makes a heartfelt appeal elsewhere in today’s publication to defend (and pay for) real journalism, which I support, but the quid pro quo is Accurate and Fair. This article from Verwoerd is neither.”

      You do understand what the term ‘Opinionista’ means, don’t you?

      • Martin Neethling says:

        I sure do Rodney. And Verwoerd can hold whatever chauvinistic views she wishes but she can’t make up facts or revise history. When she does she should be clipped back. That’s the job of DM’s editorial staff. You can’t spew bs under the guise of ‘Opinionista’.

  • David Bristow says:

    I agree the DA leadership currently leaves a lot to be desired. A lot. But the writer misses the vital point of ethics, andit seems the DA is the only party with any. They do not want to make deals with devils like Gayton McKenzie and the like just to grease the wheels. Right or wrong.

  • Dr Kym Morton says:

    Why blame Steenhuisen when he is brave enough to say the truth. This article smacks of a personal dislike of Steenhusien – did he hurt your feelings at one time (for telling it like it is) and now your only weapon is cheap shots?

  • Denise Smit says:

    The writer is the problem, not the DA not Helen Zille or any other leaders of the DA. If you do not stand for something and are willing to stand by your princeples you are doomed. The DA is not in the business of destroying SA but where it is in charge it is building and improving everything it puts its mind to. It is people like the writer who are responsible for the destruction of this country in their fickle way of doing things and approaching life. Hope she is not seriously involved in foreign contacts.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Sadly, if one took the time to list the leadership / strategy /tactical mistakes of each of the parties’ leaders we would fill up DM website.

    If we have this election the outcome is going to be a Government of National Unity that excludes MK and EFF and the other more blatantly rabid causes.

  • Thomas Risi says:

    Its a fine article and holds many truth’s We must not see the DA as a messiah for SA problems and discount all others. Its going to tough but only humility will see us through.

    • Kevin Immelman says:

      The article itself is what should be expected from an ANC supporter, nothing more than an opinion piece. However, to suggest that the DA is not the messiah for SA’s problems begs the question – then who? They are the only party in the country that have a proven track record in good governance.
      While the current leadership does not impress with huge amounts of wisdom, they are getting the job done. I would love to combine some of the wisdom of past leaders of the party and its predecessors with the doggedness of the current bunch and the opportunity they have in front of them. We might then have a chance to realise the true potential of this magnificent country.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Last week we were fed Oscar van Heerden pro ANC preachings in Die Burger, today we are fed anti DA moaning by the writer

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    It really didn’t take you long to get right back into your News24 groove.

    Lets for just one moment make the assumption that a coalition would be possible. How exactly would that work? As much as you like to paint the DA in a negative light,it would be quite clear that in order for such a coalition to even be considered, the DA would have a few very basic requirements like for instance full procurement transparency, a minimum of accountability amongst the many issues of the ANC. Instead we have an ANC that is doing everything in its power to obscure their criminal money enterprise, ignoring key findings of commissions and reports that don’t suit them. Simple transparency like the cadre deployment records are being withheld tooth and nail for years only to not be delivered with obvious lies (uh our mail server crashed and uh my dog at my homework). Ministers that have been failing for years and years are still in their position, their ailing portfolios destroying this country right before our eyes. Can you see the ANC forming a coalition with the DA if it were to rightfully ask for Mantashes or Celes resignation? Would the ANC “come to the table with a sense of humblenes”?
    Yes, Steenhuisen puts his foot in his mouth now and again, the “roadkill” joke was in bad taste, but then again most people that are divorced tend to have an adversarial relationship with their ex spouses. These tiny issues simply dont compare to the ANCs destruction. Pity the commenting charater limits.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      There are a lot of the current crop of Government Ministers who should be gone…prison, retired or whatever, but this current crop ain’t going

  • John Kannemeyer says:

    I don’t need to like the DA’s top leadership, I need to be happy with their ability to govern and manage municipalities and provinces. This is not a popularity contest, as John will lose this hands down. Melanie like all ANC supporters focuses on individuals in charge, not the parties overall performance in the past five years.

  • John P says:

    Melanie this article is biased nonsense from begining to end. The ANC have the choice of saying yes or no to the EFF if it comes to a coalition, how can that choice be the fault of the DA?

  • Stanislaw Hohowsky says:

    This article is one of the reasons media in general is having a hard time. Verwoerd a stanch ANC supporter has the gal to call out the DA (whom I do not support) for a coalition between ANC and EFF. What two faced biased bigotry is this? We ask balanced independent reporting and what do you get a self indulgent, personal opinionated benefactor of the ruling ANC blaming the DA for a satanic coalition. My question is what is Verwoerd trying to achieve? and secondly why would the Daily Maverick publish this article? What is being achieved by this commentary?

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      It’s an opinion column. And the DM regularly publish such columns, from across the political spectrum. I’ve even seen opinions from John Steenhuisen himself published on DM – I assume you didn’t complain about those particular columns…

      • Karl Sittlinger says:

        Opinions are fine, but using misinformation to underline these opinions as facts is the problem here. Just one example (read the article again, there are a few of these), let’s take Melanie’s assertion that the DA “decided to rather let the city fall apart than make the deal” to explain what happened to the coalition in CoJ.
        A good explanation of what is happening to coalitions can be found on TheConversation:
        “The chaotic changes are being driven by a number of factors.

        The first is the self-interest of small and micro parties. An ideal form of multiparty democracy offers sound competition between functional political parties to determine the fate of governance in political systems. In most cases a system of proportionality is in place. But in South Africa micro-parties wield disproportionate power.

        Bands of micro-parties that hold very small numbers of seats individually are elevated to the status of (vacillating) power blocs. They very often call the shots. They gain a major political voice, hold entire municipal administrations to ransom, and are inclined to change coalition allegiance.

        The second factor is the emergence of opportunistic, power-obsessed leaders who run amok. Many of them are serial flip-floppers who go wherever the next, improved offer of position and patronage-infused municipal portfolio takes them. They anoint and abandon coalitions with the bigger DA and ANC whenever convenient.”

        In other words trying to blame this on the DA is simply wrong, lies.

  • Sergei Rostov says:

    “If the DA won’t assist us to stay in power, then we’ll stay in power with the wreckers of the EFF”. Anything to stay in power, even wrecking the country. This column is the best advertisement I have yet seen for kicking out the unprincipled ANC.

  • Peter Slingsby says:

    When the ANC gets less than 50% Ramaphosa will have an excuse to retire to his farm and the gangster Mashatile will take over. Our Paul will have no problems with an EFF or MK coalition. Hardly the DA’s fault, Melanie.

  • Ruan Schroder says:

    Disappointed in Melanie for this clearly personal ‘opinion’, and also in DM for posting it. I sincerely hope this isn’t the start of DM’s regression into a click-bait type of cheap journalism?

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    How much more humbled must one be to maintain a civilised and ethical Democracy? If lack of humility is what the DA is being criticised for then we really have lost hope!

  • JC Coetzee says:

    My summary, after reading the article and comments, is that there are some kortbroeke out there. True leadership is in short supply. We are witnessing the beginning of a happy phase in the history of the country.

  • Stephen Leggatt says:

    The DA has (or more likely had) a wonderful opportunity to become a main, or the main political force in SA. However brilliant Steenhuisen is – and the above article suggests he makes some poor choices of words – surely the DA should understand that it will NOT win black voter support currently with ANY white leader .
    Maybe only in another 25 years – if in this 21st century – will black voters trust a white political leader of any calibre for obvious historical reasons. Whether voters can be blamed for reverse racism and ignorance or not and whether they therefore deserve to be ruled by an inept and corrupt party, it is a political fact. Politics is about reality as well as ideals. Therefore, start with reality instead of telling the electorate they are ignorant.
    There are some quite brilliant black politicians within the DA and yet Steenhuisen seems to put his own ego and personal leadership in front of what is needed for South Africa.
    In the face of the ANC’s proven ineptness to govern for 3 decades, most black voters will still prefer it to a white led DA with the above article suggesting this is still 40%. Pity the country’s loss for one man’s ego and the lost opportunity for another 5 year term of corruption and incompetence.

    • Veritas Scriptum says:

      Well said Stephen. The way the DA is positioning itself it can never be the party for the future. Only their imminent loss of support in the coming elections will convince their die hard right and white supporters that it’s time to embrace the reality of a future SA. Melanie Verwoerds message has been missed entirely because it goes against the current limited myopic DA narrative.
      There are many competent leaders in other parties that share the same philosophy for corruption free and competent management. It’s not only the preserve of the DA.

    • A Rosebank Ratepayer says:

      Clearly the closer we get to elections, the higher the levels of emotion and the less facts and more opinions get hurled about. E.g the statement above that it is impossible for ANY white leader to gain black support. Why are Chris Pappas and Sandile Mnikathi’s achievements and strategy are ignored by virtually every one including the DA leadership? Instead of slagging off every party they felt threatened by, these two went on the ground, told people what they intended to do in terms of service delivery in their own language, got elected by a majority black electorate and proceeded to implement.
      Suspect some of the DA leadership could feel threatened by these two, as they clearly have by others, black and white, and, if some one threatens you, the easiest strategy is to remove them one way or the other. The DA leadership’s behaviour in JHB could also appear to a lot of people that the party’s leaders are prepared to put their principles before the well being of the electorate. It has resulted in a kind of Pyrrhic victory for the leadership’s principles with the material costs borne, not by them, but by the people.
      It is a great shame that the DA federal leadership doesn’t follow the inclusionary, pragmatic approach of the Umgeni mayor (now former) and deputy mayor instead of this competitive adversarial approach, which although they may personally feel is correct, is clearly arrogantly and unnecessarily alienating a lot of good people.

    • Steven Burnett says:

      Couldn’t agree more Stephen. The DA has missed a golden opportunity to grab the centre of the south african politics as the ANC freefalls, instead they are seemingly more concerned with the rise of the FF+. They have shed most of their black leaders who would be the ones cannibalising the ANC support, where’s Dr Mpho (answer, back to medicine!). Unfortunately race is still so crucial in South Africa, and the only white leader they had who could appeal to the masses left with the rest (Athol Trollip). As much respect as I have for Helen Zille, I feel history will judge her return to polictics as a mistake for the DA.

  • John Lewis says:

    If The Daily Maverick was permanently blacked out, how we would miss Verwoed’s insights and wisdom!

  • Paul Zille says:

    Might there be a link between DM’s existential crisis and the quality of some of its contributors?

    Writing as a paying subscriber, the extreme variability of DM’s journalism does test one’s patience and resolve… If DM wants to survive, it needs to address this matter urgently, taking a leaf from News24’s book on quality and focus, perhaps? And letting go some of the very limited contributors.

  • Leon Nortje says:

    The ANC has pioneered the business model of turning votes into private wealth by means of manipulated tenders, using BEE as their protective umbrella. The EFF in turn has emulated this – after all, Malema learned this directly from his erstwhile mentor Zuma. When the EFF says they will enter a national coalition with the ANC on condition that they get to run the finance ministry and SARS – what does that tell you ? Not the housing department so they can build the houses they promise people – no, they want the money.

    And the PA says they’ll enter municipal coalitions on condition that they control the finances and tenders, what does that tell you ?

    This then is the key problem in trying to form “stable” coalitions with parties like these – have you ever heard the saying “no honour amongst thieves” ?

    That is why the ANC/EFF/PA and other dubious coalitions do not last – because at some point there is a disagreement over who gets to steal what. There is no common ground between these parties except looting the public purse, so they never resolve their differences for the greater good. Because the greater good was never part of their equation.

    In light of this, how do you expect the DA to form a coalition with partners whom they know is intent only on looting ?

    Your misdirection is both obvious and tedious but my larger question is always how people like you, that have been so absolutely complicit in looting our country, manage to sleep at night.

  • chris butters says:

    This article contains a lot of sense about coalitions. I am surprised by the many negative and even angry reactions. Having lived for over half my life in a region constantly governed by coalitions – Scandinavia – there is much to learn. As the largest opposition party, it is indeed the DA’s obligation to set the tone for coalitions and this HAS TO include working constructively, amicably and with humility, with partners who have some standpoints one dislikes, even deeply. Such as perhaps the PA. If not, the ANC will never , NEVER be removed. The DA does often shoot itself on the foot due to these attitudes. both Zille and Steenhuizen – his remarks about these new parties coming to the Western Cape were shockingly arrogant and destroy coalition efforts. I don’t think Melanie’s article is primarily anti-DA, it contains a pertinent warning to them (and others). And attacks on where she herself “comes from”- ad hominem – are unhelpful. Coalitions? There is a lot needing to be learned, and FAST please!

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Comparing us to coalition politics in Scandinavia is a real stretch. If arrogance and a lack of humility where any impediment to electoral prospects we wouldn’t have had 30 years of the ANC and the EFF wouldn’t hit 1%.

    • Daniel Cohen says:

      It’s one thing to be part of a coalition with parties that have some policies you disagree with or dislike. It is quite another to enter into a coalition with parties led by corrupt individuals with a proven track record of dishonesty and double dealing.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Spot on, Chris!

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    “a sense of humbleness — something the DA is not known for.”

    More than a hint of projection there. Her apparently ex-employers aren’t famous for their humility. It’s weird how most of what she rails about the DA being guilty of could easily be describing the ANC who loot like world champs while about it. When reading this stuff it’s worth remembering that people like the author bear some of the responsibility for the state we find ourselves in after 30 years of ANC hegemony.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      And yet, if the DA as a party can be described in terms that remind one of the ANC, how are they going to capture the votes of those who are tired of the current government, and want something different?

      • Middle aged Mike says:

        They quite clearly don’t want what the DA has to offer so they aren’t going to capture them. That much should be obvious. People that tired of the ANC have migrated in large numbers to the EFF and MK. I haven’t yet figured out what either of those offer but it has little to no overlap with what the DA has.

  • Michele Rivarola says:

    There are many truths as much as many inaccuracies. Whilst I do concur that the DA made terrible howlers in allowing future leaders such as Mbali Ntuli, Lindiwe Mazibuko and many others to be alienated by internal archaic DA politics the balance of the commentary is fairly skewed and does not present a balanced view. Without descending into politics SA, its voters and its allegedly elected leaders will be presented with two choices: rekindle the rainbow nation spirit which saw the country avoid a civil war with no winners or stare down the barrel of political dispossession and greater racial intolerance. Unfortunately the EFF whilst appealing to many dispossessed voters offers very little if anything in the form of realisable programmes to emancipate those who are living in utter squalor. Neither does the DA nor does the ANC. What is required is a realisable plan where a horizon in placed on when targets and KPIs are to be met. SA needs a programme, not words and vacuous promises, where we set realistic targets to reduce unemployment, provide a decent standard of living for an increasing number of our population, provide a decent education etc etc. There is certainly a will and many of the chasms between private sector and civil service, between employers and unions are created by self serving leaders who have no other interest either than themselves A programme like this will require brave choices and trade-offs which feeds into some of the comments in this article. Don’t blame the opposition for the dire state of SA, blame the party whom you allegedly served and its leaders who think of nothing more either than themselves. Mandela was a great unifying leader, Mbeki a pragmatist who made a few mistakes and that was the end of leadership for a span of 10 years. Denying that under the current leadership there have been no wins is not looking at facts. Sure there could have been many more and there have also been many losses however the rate of change and progress needs to be understood within the context of having to change the mentality of an organisation founded on archaic Stalinist/Leninist ideals to one favouring more of a social democracy. It is unhelpful at best to ignore realities of the majority of voters in SA many of whom do not have the privilege of a decent roof over their heads, running water, a waterborne sewerage system, electricty or mobile data serving their dwellings. The focus on everyone’s programmes should be how do we improve those lives and not how do we get those people to vote for me.

  • Jo Van says:

    Dear Melanie, I am puzzled that prospective investors consult you to help them decide about risking their money here. You as an ANC cadre should be known to seriously lack good judgement as is suggested by you still being aligned with the ANC in spite of their criminal objectives and actions. What can you offer investors to encourage investment if your buddies are destroying our country and discouraging investments.

    • Agf Agf says:

      I thought exactly the same thing as I read the article. Why on earth any investor interested in ploughing their money into South Africa would consult Melanie beggars belief.

  • Leon Joffe says:

    I’ve always been a DA supporter but Steenhuizen gives me the creeps, and why doesnt the DA have a black leader? By now it should have attracted enough supporters to move away from its “white colonial” image. It has to take the blame for that. The article is right; except in the Western Cape the DA is looking increasingly redundant

    • Paddy Ross says:

      Would you rather live in Cape Town/DA governed Western Cape municipalities or Jo’burg/ ANC ‘governed’ Gauteng municipalities?

  • Alan Watkins says:

    What a crock of sh!t. Melanie and other ANC cheerleaders want the DA in a coalition with the ANC , when they undoubtedly lose the upcoming election, because they think the ANC has a better chance of raping the DA than they do the EFF

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Its all the DAs fault Melanie ,in fact they have put the country in the mess its been since 1994 . The glorious ANC liberation has been deliberatly scuttled by the DA , as the EFF appeared on the scene the DA was again on hand to fool the voters , in fact State capture and failing munipalities all over the country has been engineered by Helen Zille !
    Thanks fo enlightening Melaine, me as I vote for the DA again !

  • Annette Jahnel says:

    DA, ANC, pick a party; there is no discernible difference. Their inner circle will benefit by a win, but will you? NO. This fact has been proven globally for decades.
    That the focus of the comments is on the author’s partisanship is bizarre; clearly, that is what one does in this phase of electioneering. However, when the comments place blame on the voters, that is a clear indication that the populace does not understand the responsibility of community in a democracy. It is up to each individual to consistently build a democratic society to ensure that all of the population benefits from the democratic state.
    That starts with education. The fact that the populace still votes for the ANC is due to the poverty of education. I have not seen any massive protests or drives by the population demanding a free and fair education system for all.
    Nope, what I do see is the discord between the paring of capitalism (corrupt centralised gain) and democracy (spread the blame).
    To blame the indigent illiterate is to blame those with the least agency. In South Africa, with our 11 official languages, most of the populace does not even understand the language in which the issues are debated, let alone the issues themselves. They are simply fed snake oil and t-shirts. No, dear fellows, it is the privileged few whose comfort and convenience stem from a dead system that has brought about this situation, including the unfortunate head-boy of the DA.

    • Joe Soap says:

      “Their inner circle will benefit by a win, but will you? NO. This fact has been proven globally for decades.” If this were true there would be no discernable difference between the western Cape, Midvaal, Umgeni to name a few than their adjacent ANC run administrations – so the citizens of these areas do benefit from an administration run by “opposition” parties or coalitions. Latest reports on Tshwane, under a Cilliers Brink led coalition, show that in a year – the annual deficit has been reduced from more R2bn to ~R300m.

      “I have not seen any massive protests or drives by the population demanding a free and fair education system for all.” What would be a fair education system – one that enforces all schools, public, old-model C, and private, to use one examination system, enforcing a 30% pass level – I think not – all that does is remove a yardstick against which the failed “free” education system of the public system can be measured. Private schools enjoy no government subsidy. Perhaps this is why many voters remain ANC supporters having no discernment on the value of a decent education in contrast to an education that has a 30% pass rate based on a system where probably half school going population are pushed out of the system before even getting that far.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    It’s distasteful articles like this that can put me off again with the DM

    • Cape Doctor says:

      I wonder how many DM readers / subscribers would have reacted positively to the “blackout” appeal if Verwoerd’s very trashy opinion piece had been published last Friday? Branko – Can’t you just stick with the real journalists like Stephen Grootes and Ferial Haffajee? I hate to think of my subs money going to pay misanthropes like Melanie Verwoerd.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      So because you read an opinion you don’t like, you’re put off the media house that actually takes the trouble to offer opposing viewpoints and get opinions from across the political spectrum?
      Perhaps you’d be better off reading IOL or Fox News, if you want to live in an echo chamber…

  • Change is good sa says:

    Thank you Mthokozisi Nkosi for your comments, journalists are very happy to bring up unfortunate social media comments and make them the heroes of the story rather than the amazing good that ALL THE OTHER DA POLITICIANS are doing within the party on municipal and provincial level. I guess Verwoed is not a DA supporter. John Steenhuisen is not perfect, but in today’s age of ‘me,me,me’ he and Helen Zille have held the discipline of all DA politicians to great effect. The DA politicians know their direction and what they have to achieve and they have certainly done this in the WC. This is an incredible feat in the chaos of the 21st century, when social media commentary for journalists seems to be their measure of the story, rather than the actual achievements of service delivery. The DA under John Steenhuisen has individual discipline that no other party of similar size in SA has managed in this upcoming and past elections. This is what you should be telling your overseas investors. This is a skill that few leaders have. JHB was not a fight they could win, aligning themselves with a criminal, which is what Gayton McKenzie is, is what should worry investors. ‘Let it rather burn’ reference to JHB are your words and they are inflammatory at best. An ANC/EFF coalition will be the voters fault, no one else’s. If people do not want to vote for the DA when they are clearly delivering services, should maybe question their own racial prejudice.

  • Alan Downing says:

    The current DA brings to mind the old United Party under Sir De Villiers Graaf, who helped keep the Nats in power through five elections.

  • James Francis says:

    The ANC-EFF are already in convenient coalitions – just look at the mess they are creating of Johannesburg. If the elections results in another ANC-EFF coalition, it means the people have spoken and they are happy to give away their rights in a slow spiral into populist chiefdom. We cannot save SA if the majority of South Africans keep supporting the people robbing them. Don’t blame the DA for that, and don’t let minority parties off the hook because they are choosing their own stomachs over the clear bigger threat of ANC-EFF politics.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      What I do blame the DA for is not developing themselves into a broad, multi-racial party that could appeal to the increasingly large swathe of disaffected ANC voters. the key senior figures in the party remain white people who are seen to support colonialism and misogyny. Moreover, the many talented up-and-coming black leaders in the DA have all since left the party.
      Politics is as much about perception as it is about delivery, and the perception that even I, as a middle aged white dude, have of the party is that it is forcing out all the talented black members, applying different standards to leadership when it is a black person who fails, compared to a white person, and tolerating a slow but obvious shift to the right.
      If I’m having trouble supporting them, how many young, unemployed black people do you expect to switch their vote from ANC to DA, with the perception the party currently provides to voters?

  • Bob Dubery says:

    The DA have a reputation (partly earned in COJ) as being turncoats. And they got that the old fashioned way, by working hard at it. So I understand the reluctance to enter into any sort of pact with them. The DA thought that they had, and that deal kept Mpho Phalatse afloat for a while. But meantime the PA were shopping around seeing where they could get a better deal. Once they agreed with the ANC that Kenny Kunene would be deputy mayor, they turned their backs on the people that had regarded them as allies.

  • Philip Machanick says:

    The latest SRF poll has ANC on 37%, MK 13%, DA 25%, EFF 11%, IFP 5%, ActionSA and FF+ on 2%, margin of error ±2.2%.

    Still enough time before the election for this to turn out to be way out.

    Rise Mzansi, for example have a strong volunteer base, which could give them momentum not yet showing in the polls, and MK could be scoring from all the publicity around Zuma’s lawfare (talk about unintended consequences…).

    However, going with these numbers, the easiest path to stable government is ANC+DA. ANC+MK could scrape just over 50% (noting margin of error in the poll could push this either way).

    ANC+EFF would require at least one more partner. EFF+MK=24%, 26% short, which they can’t make up without the DA or ANC.

    No purely opposition combination – on these numbers – looks viable. DA can’t partner with either EFF or MK without losing all credibility, given their previous utterances. That leaves 39% for DA and DA-amenable opposition; you are not going to make up 11% unless there is a very big swing not yet in the numbers.

    But the election is still a long way off, so I wouldn’t be placing any bets yet. Ramaphosa, Zuma and Malema are all very skilled politicians who know how to win with their bases. DA has a track record of shooting itself in the foot.

    But when I talk to people (from a wide circle of demographics), I detect a very different mood so things could turn out … interesting.

  • Kerry Haggard says:

    It is exactly because of Steenhuizen and Zille’s leadership that I don’t want to vote DA. They’re a discredit to leaders like Alan Winde and Christopher Pappas, who I would vote for in a heartbeat.

  • Carlo Fourie says:

    Agree 100% with Melanie’s sentiment. Much can be said about voters get who they deserve, the DA leadership is problematic, etc. etc.
    I am a South African, I reside here and I don’t plan to move anytime soon. For me, as a South African, I would want to know that things will be alright after the elections, that my assets and safety will be secure and that the country will still function more or less normal. I cannot see how this will be the case with an ANC-EFF coalition. And I don’t have the luxury to adopt the DA’s strategy of ‘let it burn, we’ll pick up the pieces’.
    The DA might have reservations of going into a coalition with the ANC and that they may lose support, but I’m almost certain that the majority of DA supporters will welcome this action – they may even win over more support. Even better, if the DA can shake off their superiority complex and demand an ANC-MPC coalition, I will have even more hope for our future. Steenhuisen is simply not the right leader to take the DA forward – we need someone with more sophistication, diplomacy, even-temperedness and political clout to charter a way forward. The ANC might be a monumental stuff-up, but they are far more palatable than the EFF or MK.

    • Karl Sittlinger says:

      “And I don’t have the luxury to adopt the DA’s strategy of ‘let it burn, we’ll pick up the pieces’”

      Thing is this is not the DAs strategy at all but actually the ANCs. Over and over and over again the ANC has pushed through its own needs, corruption, cadres and policies, irrespective of how it impacts the country. They have literally destroyed the country because they never ever listen to anyone. Be it power, water, transport, police health, there are hundreds of examples clear to see.
      Pls explain how, beyond the fact that the DA cannot form a coalition with proven corrupt liars that break their collation agreements at the drop of a hat, the DA’s strategy is ‘let it burn, we’ll pick up the pieces’. Please give examples. And pls don’t compare the ANC destroying the country to John Steenhuisens tone deafness, it is ridiculous.
      So now be honest here, can you see the ANC firing Mantashe and Cele, who have wrought nothing but destruction and corruption in their portfolios, for the good of the country? The DA did not bring us here, that was the ANC, and it has to begin with putting blame where it belongs.
      BTW, I completely agree that Steenhuisen should go, he is terrible PR (but much of the criticism is unfair) for the DA and I say this as a DA supporter, but lets start being honest here who is doing what damage. Finally, maybe separate personal grievances with individuals from the party. We all fall prey to this kind of generalization.

  • Kelvin Dyer says:

    What is it that they keep on shooting themselves in the foot? And, give reasonable responses and solutions, without fetting hysterical, but rather calm and measured. There is no need to be confrontational, but rather there are times to concede and compromise.

  • Francois Louw says:

    I fully agree with Melanie!! I’m not sure in who I am the most disappointed. The ANC for dragging the country into the mess it is in, or the DA as the main opposition party for its inability to take advantage of a bad governing party…

  • Campbell Tyler says:

    A significant majority of comments under this article seem to ignore the fact that it is an Opinionista piece and that the Daily Maverick credits us (very mistakenly it would seem) with the intelligence to realise that we ALL need to be exposed to DIFFERENT opinions. Threatening to stop reading the DM (how much you must tremble at the thought), to resort to the personal comments you object to in the piece, to bring up history that you dont want in the article, all this must make you, the editor, despair. Please keep such pieces coming DM, for the sake of fighting off the echo chamber.

  • Pall Catt says:

    How outrageous that someone from the ANC is trying to accuse anyone else of not having humbleness!

    And then to seek to blame the DA for an ANC-EFF coalition, instead of the ANC itself who would have to agree to the coalition in the first place! What a joke.

  • Pall Catt says:

    It’s clear from some of Melanie’s recent articles that she is not objective and has an unhealthy bias which has no place in an indepedent publication.

    • Pet Bug says:

      The Daily Mail is not that independent. Has a strong bias, for … lots of wishy-washy fumbling.
      It’s hard work to weed out the rubbish victim articles from the crucial insights.
      Worth it I suppose.

  • Charl Engelbrecht says:

    I think our elections are unfortunately as much a case of who you are voting against, as who you are voting for. You have to look past lesser flaws to reap greater benefits. However, going into coalition with some of the parties trying to hitch a ride, would be like marrying a drunk you picked up in the railway hotel in some town off the beaten track, the morning after. The DA are quite correct in maintaining their standards. Or else it would be a mistake in judgment to vote for them.

  • Bruce Q says:

    South Africa lacks a decent Statesman.
    Clearly Ramaphosa isn’t one, but alas, neither is Steenhuisen, and Malema is simply a thug.
    As much as I would like the DA to be the next governing party, its leadership needs a serious revamp.
    The opportunities that they’ve been given by Zuma, Ramaphosa and the rest of the ANC imbeciles should have placed them in the pound seats by now.
    But instead of using the ANC missteps to their advantage, they whine and bicker amongst themselves.
    For goodness sake people, give the younger generation a chance.
    For example, Mr Hill-Lewis clearly has the sort of intellect required to run the DA.
    Alas, Mr Steenhuisen equally clearly does not.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    I agree completely. The DA leadership of today is as weak and compromised as the ANC & EFF. Why such a leadership was elected does not reflect well on the DA as a party. On top of that, you have the voters, apparently blinkered and tone-deaf, who simply cannot vote for anyone but the ANC.

  • Random Comment says:

    I’d pay to put Melanie behind a paywall (again)…

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    I wonder why some people seem to be hellbent on forcing DA to form a coalition government with the ANC.

    DA made it clear, not once, that it will not form a coalition government with the ANC.

    RSA is a free country with freedom of association, so if DA does not want to be associated with the ANC so be it.

    If the ANC wants to associate herself with the EFF, so be it.

    And please stop with fear mongering, boogeyman and doomsday alert.

  • Tinker Tonker says:

    Poor Melanie is unhappy as her old party is falling apart. Too right the DA did not want to go into a coalition with the PA – it is headed by a crook – they would have got nothing done as the PA would hold them to ransom as they do in other areas.

  • anton kleinschmidt says:

    I read the following and despair at the poverty of political analysis in SA. Surely you can do better than this in setting your stage. It is intellectually shallow name calling

    “One cannot ignore the shortcomings of the current DA leadership in this regard. Apart from the well-known Helen Zille colonialism debacle, it seems that John Steenhuisen is particularly tone-deaf when it comes to gender and racial sensitivities.”

  • David Barraclough says:

    Daily Maverick needs to move on from articles by Melanie Verwoerd. She is a former ANC MP – that says it all!

  • Brett Redelinghuys says:

    Melanie, start DOING SOMETHING and stop TELLING everyone how to do it right.
    So easy to sit on the side and throw stones. Get involved and get your hands dirty, sweat a bit, but actually create something.
    You have massive tallent and interlect, but have not done anything concrete since working for the governing party.
    Don’t let that be your only legacy.

  • Heinrich Heiriss says:

    Melanie never misses an opportunity to put the blame on the DA’s doorstep. Sure, Melanie, the DA may have refused a new coalition with the PA last year (not 2022 as is stated in your article), but you conveniently forgot to add who voted with the ANC/EFF to remove Mpho Phalatse as mayor in the first place?

    Regarding Johannesburg specifically – on one hand you say its a mess (which it is) and the DA and minority parties refused to work together to fix it, and on the other hand you moan because the DA isn’t keen on working with the ANC. Circling back to hand one – who exactly is to blame for the mess Joburg is in?

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    I wonder why some people seem to be hellbent on forcing DA to form a coalition government with the ANC.

    DA made it clear, not once, that it will not form a coalition government with the ANC.

    RSA is a free country with freedom of association, so if DA does not want to be associated with the ANC so be it.

    If the ANC wants to associate herself with the EFF, so be it.

    And please stop with fear mongering, boogeyman and doomsday alert.

  • Derrick Brak says:

    Maybe the author should read DM’s own assessment of the PA’s manifesto before chiding the DA for refusing to work with them… The DA has no obligation to work with bad actors. If we vote those bad actors into power, that’s nobody’s fault but ours

  • Pet Bug says:

    Verwoerd is shoveling as much dirt and personal animosity as possible onto DAs doorstep.
    That’s fine, I’m sure they’ll rip her goading apart by themselves.

    However, she oversteps her crystal ball gazing of a blooming city, suggesting that having the PA as a crucial partner in the DA-led coalition in Joburg would’ve saved the City; certainly not.
    Purple unicorn.
    The PA are extortionists and would’ve collapsed the DA-led city government by playing them off with ANC-led blackmail at the drop of an envelope.

    Verwoerd suggests the DA must play ball with a loaded PA gun and that they must just do it “for Joburg” or “for the country”. That’s really a very naïve argument to make and I’d suggest more contemplation on this.
    Hitler would not have become German chancellor with 23% had the SPD party properly thought through their support that they can “control” the Nazis.
    They should’ve stepped aside and said no.

  • James Webster says:

    I don’t know what substances you are abusing that so badly affect your mind, but I would really love some for when I need to deal with my own failure. It seems you have drunk very deeply of the African Kool-Aid, you know the one, the one that says if you deny your failure it never happened, the one that says if you fail always blame someone else, the one that preaches African excellence despite the mountains of evidence proving African incompetence, the one that trumpets South African progress in the face of South African collapse, the one that lionises having more people receiving grants than what work and the one where your opinions are actually significant and meaningful as opposed to being trashy propagandist drivel. DM fire this lunatic pseudo-intellectual turncoat.

  • Sharon Scudamore says:

    I agree with Jason van Wyngaard

  • Roann Roberts says:

    Lol. DA is not the problem. The voters are. The voters openly support ANC, and now MK despite Zuma’s track record. The voters want corruption and incompetence.

  • Rob vZ says:

    Only in South Africa do you find competence derided as arrogance.

  • Jucy Malema says:

    Lol, the words from a politician from a party who raped my country. Your opinion should not count for anything.

  • andrew farrer says:

    1. “the quality of the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) leadership” – at least 100 x better than Melanie’s anc, the eff, pa and most other parties in SA.
    2. DA leadership vetoed coalition with FF+ PA – does anyone know what gayton was demanding for his support? Probably control of certain budgets so he could manage tenders . . .
    3. I do agree that DA HAS to learn humbleness. And, do whatever’s necessary to keep eff out of governing coalitions.
    4.”The reference to a shebeen leaves little doubt about the racial undertone of his comment”- so what? were there any white crime wardens??? not racist, FACT!
    5. but only because they want to steal money. – Aint that the truth!
    A very anti DA biased piece of writing Mel, maybe you could acknowledge that the anc, pa etc also have to be humble. So the DA shouldn’t ask for the DP position in a national coalition with the anc, but it’s ok for the anc to give Jhb’s mayorship to a party with only a seat or two???

  • Steve Motalingoane says:

    John Steenhuisen is not a well polished leader. He lacks emotional intelligence and is a very bad diplomat. That’s why he could not read good leadership skills Julius Malema has because he was blinded by emotions. Malema showed diplomacy by voting DA into power in those metros such as Johannesburg. And this also showed that Malema genuinely wanted a corrupt free, effective political partner who can deliver a good governance. And he saw that in DA. Steenhuisen is making a big blunder by declaring EFF “enemy number one” and decided to form coalitions with parties that have no value. That’s very poor deplomacy because more that 10% of South Africans view Malema is their president and as a result he will loose 10 millions votes that EFF was willing to donate to him. We wanted a president who will unite South Africa not someone who has declared his fellow 10 million South Africans as “enemies”. That’s appalling! Believe me I’m not an EFF supporter and I reject EFF’s Marxism ideology but the most important thing that Malema has Julius Malema is that he has a flexible mind. I believe the worst thing that can ever happen to man is to be someone who cannot be advised and Malema is not that kind of person. The ANC managed to dissolve Hendrick Verwoerd’s National Party is because it’s leaders were well polished diplomats. Something DA’s leader lacks severely.

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