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Although it came out in 1936, the self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie could be a useful addition to the library of the current leadership of the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Its top politicians, even ahead of a critical local government election, seem to be in need of some advice about how not to alienate potential voters and how to avoid controversy.
Led by the combative DA federal chair, Helen Zille, there are those in the party who seem to be itching for a fight … with anyone.
On social media, party leader John Steenhuisen has shown himself to be a man who cannot take criticism, often resorting to blocking those whose views he does not care for.
Now, outspoken MP Natasha Mazzone has joined in, having a near-meltdown this week on Twitter in response to an assessment of how the DA might fare at the polls.
The angry attitudes, coupled with the obvious infighting within the party – and questionable decisions, like the poster debacle recently in Phoenix, Durban – have threatened to alienate many of the DA’s traditional supporters in middle-class suburbs.
This after its very public spats with its black members and leaders have seen them leave and the party get a reputation for being antiblack.
In nasty sniping at its critics, party leaders are muddying the image of the DA, which does have a good story to tell in the areas where it does govern.
There are problems in these areas, but they are better than the ANC equivalents.
And, in the end, that is what may persuade some disillusioned voters back to the DA.
But, given that such voters now have other options in moderate politics, including ActionSA, you would have thought the DA would spend more time trying to win friends than quarrelling with all and sundry.