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jeremy thorpe
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An open letter to Helen Zille

13 November 2012, 07:33

Dear Helen,

Obviously I don’t know you but, reading the words of those who have met and interviewed you, the consensus appears to be that you are honest, hard-working and intelligent. These are qualities we have the right to expect in our country’s leaders – but ones that are increasingly difficult to find.

By most accounts, your party, the DA, is doing a good job in Cape Town and the Western Cape. You achieve clean audits – and clean streets! And on a recent trip to Cape Town from Joburg, it was a pleasure to observe the lack of potholes, the working, synchronized robots and to get a general impression that things are well cared-for and maintained.

Of course, success breeds envy – and things will undoubtedly get tougher for the DA down there. To anyone reading this, forgive me if this appears racist, but it’s a fact…the black population of the Western Cape has risen sharply, from 20% of the provincial population in 1996 to 30% in 2011. Whether they are “refugees” from the Eastern Cape or people moving from up-country at the behest of the ANC to swell its voting numbers in the Western Cape, they are likely not to have jobs, to be a drain on the province’s resources – and to be a thorn in the DA’s side.    

It’s in dealing with the poor and dispossessed, Helen, that I think you need to re-evaluate the way you do things.

While I applaud your motives, what was the point of trying to address farmworkers at De Doorns, knowing that there was likely to be a violent reaction from ANC-aligned protestors? I’ve no doubt that you had the farmworkers’ best interests at heart but, to some there, your presence would have been like a red rag to a bull. You’d have done better talking to the farmers – and asking them why their workers only get paid R70 a day!

Similarly, taking on a horde of rabidly pro-Zuma supporters at Nkandla with just a handful of DA people, was plain crazy. You may have been well within your rights but, given the potential for violence, the police had no option but to tell you to leave. In both cases, you and the DA wound up looking weak, pathetic and out-of touch!     

As DA leader, you're expected to take on the ANC – but, for heaven’s sake, choose your battles according to your strengths. Issue statements, do interviews, tackle the ANC via the courts…and why, as a matter of interest, haven’t I, at time of writing, heard a single DA voice protesting against the demolition of houses in Lenasia?

Don’t stoop to the ANC’s level when you take them on. Remember, white women may be able to dance – but they look stupid toyi-toying!!  

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