The quality of the DA’s politics was deteriorating - demonstrated by a growing trend to personalise matters and deal in insults, KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu charged on Thursday.
Mchunu was lashing out at the DA for its attacks on President Jacob Zuma, saying this “personalising of issues” was something never done, even against leaders of the apartheid state.
He was speaking at the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg, where his State of the Province address was debated.
The premier’s remarks came in response to comments by DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu, who had earlier accused Zuma of claiming the victories scored by former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela, despite Zuma having “sold out” on the legacies of the two presidents.
“Everyone knows and celebrates that South Africa is better than in 1994. But the real question is whether the ANC of today is taking South Africa and KZN forward? The DA believe that Zuma, and the corruption he brought with him, has taken us in the wrong direction,” said the DA leader.
But the premier was unimpressed, saying corruption was a worldwide phenomenon that developed countries experienced too.
“Even during the time of (apartheid leaders) Verwoerd, Strydom or PW Botha, nobody went and camped outside Botha’s home simply because he was a champion of a system that got condemned by the whole world… But those who were aligned to your ideology, even at that time, never went to the extent of personalising things in the same way it is happening now.”
The premier’s comments came as the ANC in eThekwini was preparing to hold a march today to protest against what it says is the victimisation of Zuma by some institutions, including the Public Protector, whom they accuse of deliberately delaying the release of the report on Zuma’s Nkandla home.
The Public Protector, however, announced on Thursday that she would release the report on Wednesday next week.
The premier also said he was concerned at what he said were insults from some within the DA and directed at the ANC and its leaders.
“When we were campaigning recently in Phoenix I was taken aback by the announcement I heard from a car which had a blasting sound and the fellow who was speaking there said let us take out these ANC scoundrels, that was an insult right there.”
He warned that such remarks, especially as they were coming from a white person, had the potential of denting race relations.
Opposition parties have lambasted the premier for delivering what they said was an unrealistic picture of the province in his address on Tuesday.
The IFP said that while the premier had tried hard to convince them that the province was now stable, this was far from the truth.
“How do you refer to the province as stable when along the Victoria Embankment in Durban are scores of people who stand there daily idle… How do you refer to stability when in some areas, such as Kennedy Road and Cato Crest, communities are up in arms against the government?” asked IFP caucus leader Blessed Gwala.
Gwala said while the premier spoke of thousands of houses that had been built, he conveniently neglected to talk about those that needed to be fixed.