Minister Trevor Manuel responded this week to a letter in the Business Day rejecting the suggestion that he was offered the leadership of the DA.
The letter was penned by a Mr Andrew Young in the UK. I publish both letters below:
THE LETTER by Alexander Young (Zille deserves praise for sacrifice, February 7) refers. I do not believe that I have ever met Mr Young, so I cannot understand why he is an authority on my political choices.
Moreover, it is quite unseemly for him to drag me into the Democratic Alliance (DA)-Agang SA train smash. For the record, I have never had a one-on-one meeting with DA leader Helen Zille about the prospect of her offering me the leadership, or even mere membership, of the DA. If such a meeting did occur, I would use it to explain to her that I place principle above title, and that I would have no interest in leading a party with which I had little in common philosophically.
The fundamental problem that Mr Young cannot see is that the DA, through its leadership, is trapped in the most profound contradiction. Its "post-race" open society implodes when it needs a black leader who is tried-and-tested because Ms Zille feels incompetent to lead. Moreover, the quality of both her leadership quality and that of Mamphela Ramphele are drawn into serious question by the fact that their opportunistic press conference had one intention only — to undermine the electorate. The fact that neither of them, nor their phalanx of advisers, had paused to reflect on consequences speaks volumes about their lack of strategic sense.
Mr Young sees this rank opportunism as "Ms Zille has indeed broken the mould of primitive tribal politics in SA by acting selflessly". The majority of South Africans beg to differ. But then, I suppose I remain a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress (ANC) because, in the eyes of Mr Young, in faraway Hull in the UK, I am just a primitive African tribesman.
I do want to inform Mr Young, though, that none of the injuries sustained to the pride of the "selfless" Ms Zille has anything to do with the ANC, they are all the self-inflicted wounds that result from the train-smash of expedience.