James Myburgh at politicsweb writes:
There is something in the toxic moral atmosphere that has rolled over South Africa in the past few weeks that is reminiscent of that which prevailed after Thabo Mbeki's ascent to the state presidency in 1999. Even though he was taking over from a living icon, Mbeki was nonetheless seen to embody the promise of a new dawn. His government would be decisive, less tolerant of incompetence than Mandela had been, and finally set about delivering. Political writers and commentators fell over themselves praising Mbeki's brilliance and his statesmanlike demeanour and approach. The columnist Xolela Mangcu wrote that, despite its pedestrian delivery, the serious content of Mbeki's inauguration speech made "tears well up" in his eyes.
Despite now being the largest opposition party in parliament the DP was stripped of its place on the Judicial Services Commission and the chairmanship of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. It was also subjected to a campaign of demonisation which culminated in the labelling, in parliament, of the DP as the political home of "neo-Nazism" and "white fascism." The message was delivered by a former DP MP who had defected to the ANC a short while before (and who was subsequently rewarded with an ambassadorship). I remember thinking then that a ruling clique which thought it could use debased propaganda of that kind against a Jewish South African was really capable of anything.
There is an underlying theme in much of the anti-Zille rhetoric - dripping as it is in gross misogyny and racialism. This is that no-one, especially no woman, and more especially no white woman, should think themselves entitled to criticise the president's personal conduct. The ANC alliance appears to be trying to dish out a lesson to her, and South Africa more generally. This is that from now on everyone should grovel before the feet of the new big man. As MKMVA put it, in a statement, they were going to the Western Cape to "apply the necessary pressure to the little premier who is too big for her boots."