DA leader under fire from her own party

2012-04-08 19:45
Johannesburg - Western Cape Premier and DA leader Helen Zille has come under fire from her own party for describing people who move to her province in search of a better education as “refugees”.

The party’s spin machine has gone into overdrive in the past three weeks to defend Zille’s use of the word.

Internally, both the DA Youth and eThekwini councillor Nicole Graham were among those who told Zille her words were not well-received by their constituencies.

DA Youth chairperson Mbali Ntuli said they asked Zille about it in a meeting they had on other issues.

“I think everyone in the party has been wanting some sort of understanding on the tweet,” she said. “We did speak to her about it. We think it might not be the right term for the younger audience.”

Ntuli said if people were re-considering their vote for the DA following Zille’s use of “refugees”, they might not have been convinced about voting for the DA in the first place.

She said the party’s youth structure was happy with Zille’s explanation that she meant to highlight the education crisis in the Eastern Cape.

Graham, who tweeted her concern with the use of the word “refugee”, said she sent an e-mail to Zille because she received a “fairly negative” response from her constituents.

Interpretation

“Technically there isn’t much of an issue with it. It is in the implication and the interpretation,” she said. She said Zille discussed it with her.

“She meant the right thing, she was going in the right direction, but the problem is with the way it was interpreted.”

Despite concerns that Zille’s utterance cost the DA loss of support in recent by-elections in three Port Elizabeth wards, Eastern Cape DA leader Athol Trollip said this was unlikely.

Although he was “disappointed” at the drop in support for the DA from 1.5% to 1.2% in one of the wards, he said this was an ANC stronghold because it was the home of former Nelson Mandela Bay Metro mayor Nceba Faku.

In the other two wards the party’s support rose slightly, but it was bound to be an uphill battle since the by-election came about after three ANC councillors died in a car crash and it was an emotional poll.

“The stories about the loss of support are anecdotal. Personally I might have used different language, but I support [Zille’s] sentiment 100%,” he said.

ANC 'refugee' plan

Western Cape ANC chairperson Marius Fransman said the party was planning to use the “refugee” term to campaign against the DA in future elections.

Zille’s chief of staff Geordin Hill-Lewis, however, hit back, saying the ANC’s elections tactic was to “divide South Africans on the basis of race”.

Asked whether Zille would apologise, he said: “She has said from the start that she regrets it when people are offended by her words, especially when there was no intention to offend.”

Two complaints have been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission about her use of the term.

Read more on:    helen zille  |  athol trollip  |  marius fransman  |  cape town  |  education  |  politics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
129 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.