The Democratic Alliance found itself at the centre of yet another social media storm on Monday over Helen Zille’s view on colonialism, this time sparked by a now-deleted tweet by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba that Twitter users slammed for showing support for widely reviled US President Donald Trump.
The tweet compared Trump favourably with President Cyril Ramaphosa, citing Trump’s leadership so far as a success and Ramaphosa’s as a failure.
Many Twitter users expressed their distaste for the deleted tweet.
This is a future-dated Tweet Bomb which, when detonated, will confirm to all the REAL nature of the DA leadership who, make NO mistake, support Herman Mashaba WHOLEHEARTEDLY in his defense of Trump. What a bunch of losers!
— U PIVOTED YET!? (@PAULN0GUEIRA) August 13, 2018
— KatArina Not Katrina! (@KatarinaHedren) August 13, 2018
Do you genuinely believe the legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative? Then let's scrap the constitution including concepts such as the separation of powers. Let's scrap formal education institutions, the English language etc etc…..
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) August 13, 2018
Mashaba, however, claimed the deleted tweet had “nothing to do with Trump”.
This comparison has nothing to do with Trump, but with government that serves the people & put serious matters in perspective. It appears to me that some people enjoy seeing our people suffer https://t.co/X4vAWamvg3
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) August 13, 2018
Making matters worse, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille chimed in once again with her controversial views on colonialism.
Zille tweeted similar sentiments to the initial tweet that caused such an outcry. “Do you genuinely believe the legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative?” she asked.
Zille recently said she believed the outcry to her initial tweet was caused mainly by “bots and trolls”.
“The ANC’s disingenuous campaign has been based on bots and trolls aiming to divide they know if they turn white people into the enemy, they will win elections. Former president Nelson Mandela also talked about the legacy of colonialism,” said Zille in June.
The DA made public their desire to attract black voters and end the belief that they are a white party, with leader Mmusi Maimane in particular expressing his desire to counter this perception.
However, recent comments he made about white privilege were met with a backlash from certain elements in the DA’s leadership.
READ MORE: Ditching BEE will cost DA, says analyst
The DA’s abandonment of BEE as policy last week and handling of the De Lille matter, which some believe is evidence of the party’s inability to support strong, black women as leaders, have further been seen as evidence by some analysts that the DA’s attempts to counter their reputation as a party supporting white interests will be an uphill battle.
This perception began after Lindiwe Mazibuko, at the time the party’s leader in parliament and seen as a possible future DA leader, left the party under contentious circumstances.
“She did it to me, and she’s doing it again,” Mazibuko said of Zille recently in a speech at the Marie Claire Power Summit as a picture of Zille sitting next to Maimane appeared on a screen above her.
At the beginning of August, Mazibuko expressed support for De Lille, saying she “smelled a rat” regarding the allegations against the Cape Town mayor, who has now agreed to step down from her position at the end of October.
“I would like to know what the Patricia de Lille issue is,” she said at the time.
“If someone can explain it to me in simple English, perhaps I can offer a fulsome opinion.”