The leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane, was right to blame the African National Congress (ANC) for the increase in poverty revealed in last week's report by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
The report said that the proportion of the population in poverty had increased from 53.2% in 2011 to 55.5% in 2015. "There can surely be no greater indictment of any government's performance than the number of people living in poverty rising on their watch," declared Mr Maimane.
He added that Stats SA had identified policy uncertainty, weak economic growth, continuing high unemployment, higher prices, and lower investment as having contributed to the increase in poverty. All of these, said Mr Maimane, stemmed from "the ANC's economic policies that have failed to grow the economy and create work". Right again.
Yet only a week previously, Mr Maimane was telling us that "the general socio-economic underdevelopment of black people in our country today can be accounted for chiefly on the basis of race-based colonial and apartheid policies".
Well, which is it? The ANC or the previous regime? Or the one before that, when the British colonial office supposedly ruled the roost? It is long past time for the leader of the DA to make up his mind. When unemployment on the expanded definition has risen from 3.7 million in 1994 to 9.3 million today, it is absurd to cast the blame "chiefly" on apartheid.
It is even more absurd to blame colonialism, South Africa having finally ceased to be subject to any control by the Imperial government when the Status of the Union Act was passed in 1934. In practice, of course, we stopped being a colony in 1910, when the Union came into being.