Cheap shots cost us dear

We were not expecting the relationship between the ruling ANC and the official opposition, the DA, to be congenial.

We were not expecting the relationship between the ruling ANC and the official opposition, the DA, to be congenial.

But the slugging match between the two, especially after we published a story in which DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille made scurrilous allegations against President Jacob Zuma pertaining to his domestic and personal arrangements - and the reaction to these, has gone too far.

Zille's attack on Zuma was unwarranted and opportunistic. It was a flimsy attempt to divert attention from the undesirability of having an all-male cabinet. The ANC Youth League's counter-attack pertaining to Zille's relationship with the men she had chosen lacked any semblance of dignity, to put it mildly.

It no longer matters who started it. Each ought to respect the other's office even if they dislike the person occupying that office. Robust politics does not mean resorting to such juvenile behaviour.

Now they have caused untold damage to the office of the President and possibly stoked racial tensions.

We expect better from the two main parties in our democracy. We demand of them statesmanship not cheap brinkmanship.

Both parties should meet urgently to draw up rules of engagement. Their antipathy towards each other could harm our state if left unchecked.

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