Editorial: Mashaba trumps Trump

Now that the tweeters of the world can put 280 characters in a box instead of 140, Helen Zille has double the space to shoot herself in the foot while fiercely thumb sucking too.

The Democratic Alliance’s Western Cape premier made comments about the benefits of colonialism a while ago, earning much opprobrium from a South Africa desperate to decolonise itself, as well as a rap on the knuckles from her party leadership.

Later, perhaps realising her utterances made her look like a crusty old Victorian imperialist, Zille “unreservedly apologised” for what her spokesperson said “may have come across as a defence of colonialism”. She seemed sorry, at least, for having offended the black voters her party is trying to win over.

But, this week, an undaunted Zille was back on Twitter to say more good things about colonialism and to defend the DA mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, who is now surely in pole position to take the title of most preposterous politician in South Africa (and that’s against some stiff competition).

Mashaba, not known for his ability to maintain a discreet silence on any touchy issue, put out a comprehensive, point-by-point guide to why United States President Donald Trump has done so well in his short period in office, whereas South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has failed on all fronts.

It was hard to believe that Mashaba could be so idiotic, but then it began to dawn on even those who support a coalition government in South Africa’s leading city that, indeed, he is so idiotic.

If Mashaba was intending to out himself as a disciple of the orange bloat filling the US presidency, he did extremely well. Mashaba is obviously also a supporter of rabid xenophobia, policy train smashes, lying to the public and crying “fake news” whenever it suits him.

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