SHARE
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille File picture: Armand Hough/ANA Pictures

Here’s a catch up on the latest with the controversial Western Cape Premier and former DA leader, Helen Zille…

1. ANC slams Zille apology over colonialism furore a ‘meaningless token’

The African National Congress (ANC) slammed the “so-called political settlement” by the opposition Democratic Alliance over Helen Zille’s controversial tweets around colonialism, saying it amounted to an “unadulterated defense of white supremacy and privilege”.

Western Cape Premier and former DA leader Zille on Tuesday apologised to South Africans for her controversial tweets around colonialism.

At a joint press conference with DA leader Mmusi Maimane in Johannesburg, Zille said: “I realise the wounds of history that my tweet and subsequent defence of it has opened.

In particular, I recognise that my actions were insensitive to South Africans who suffered under colonial oppression. For this, I am genuinely sorry.”

Maimane said Zille agreed that it was in the best interests of the party for her to vacate her position on all decision-making structures of the DA, including the federal executive, and the federal and provincial councils.

She would however remain provincial premier until 2019.

But the ANC said: “It is an unprincipled, hypocritical and meaningless token offered to what is hoped is a gullible public and once again unmasks the true character of the DA as a racist party, constituted of unrepentant and unreformed bigots led by a caretaker leader with no real power.”

The ANC said Zille was not the first leader of the DA to “praise and pray for the return of apartheid colonialism and other systems which oppressed the black majority in this country”, citing the likes of DA office bearers Dianne Kohler-Barnard and Chris Roberts as “apartheid apologists and rabid racists exposed for their blatant disregard and disdain for our country’s reconciliation and nation building project”.

The ANC accused the DA of having no political will to rid the party of racism. “Whilst the party will routinely crisscross the country in an effort to woo black voters, they are unwilling to wean themselves off their traditional white and conservative base.”

The ANC further said there was nothing party leader Maimane could do about the situation “because he is not in charge and the party’s funders have threatened to pull out if Zille is removed”.

Zille had proven herself over and over again to be anti-poor and anti-black, the ANC said, adding that she was not fit to remain as premier of the Western Cape.

2. ‘I’ll tweet about my grandchild’, says repentant Zille

Instead of tweeting controversial remarks about colonialism, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said she would instead tweet about her grandchild.

“I will be tweeting about my granddaughter…and all other things vanilla and chocolate,” she said on the sidelines of a media briefing she held with her party leader Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday.

He added that the long-drawn battle between Zille and the party leadership over the controversy had not been good for the party.

“This has not been an easy decision. The alternative was to become embroiled in a protracted legal battle in the lead up to the 2019 elections. I have no doubt that this would have done further damage to the project we have embarked upon, to the detriment of every South African committed to non-racialism and constitutionalism,” said Maimane.

Zille is known for her fiery tweets and her unreserved tackling of her trolls and detractors on social media.

She said although she would not be involved in party decision-making any longer, she would be on the ground campaigning for the DA.

“I will be working in by-elections and wearing my [DA] t-shirt. I also think it was a good idea for me to be removed because it is very hard for leadership to always be sitting chirping about things…it is hard.”

Zille revealed that she had been contacted recently and advised to form her own political party but had refused. She would not say who contacted her with the suggestion.

RELATED ARTICLE: Helen Zille isn’t the only politician who’s forgotten to think before they tweet

Earlier, Zille apologised to South Africans over her tweets, adding that her actions undermined Maimane’s party leadership.

“I realise the wounds of history that my tweet and subsequent defence of it has opened. In particular, I recognise that my actions were insensitive to South Africans who suffered under colonial oppression. For this, I am genuinely sorry,” said Zille.

Zille added that everyone should get behind Maimane’s leadership.

“During this period I made public utterances that had the effect of undermining the leader of the DA and the project he is leading. I greatly regret this…Mmusi Maimane is a democratically elected leader of the DA and we must all get behind him.”

Last week, Maimane announced Zille’s party membership had been suspended, but Zille was quick to point out that he had flouted the party’s constitution by not giving her a chance to make representations.

The party later backtracked saying Zille was still to submit reasons why she should not be suspended.

– Sourced from African News Agency (ANA)