Zille: ANC threatens black critics

2012-04-22 10:00

DA leader Helen Zille has said that the ANC’s “disproportionate” response to businessman Reuel Khoza’s criticism of the party was “actually a public threat to all black South Africans who dare oppose the ANC”.

Addressing her party’s North West congress yesterday, Zille said the ANC’s response was “about intimidating people, and especially black South Africans, into not daring to step outside of the fold”.

Khoza, non-executive Nedbank chair, wrote in the bank’s annual report South Africa’s “strange breed” of leaders needed to adhere to the institutions that underpinned democracy.

He said “our political leadership’s moral quotient is degenerating and we are fast losing the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the past”, and: “We have a duty to build and develop this nation and to call to book the putative leaders who, due to sheer incapacity, cannot deal with the complexity of 21st century governance and leadership, cannot lead."

Zille labelled this criticism “mild beer”.

She said the ANC’s outraged reaction, which included insinuating that the party would withdraw its custom from the bank, showed “if you do speak up, (the ANC) will even threaten to destroy your livelihood”.

She said the fact that very few business leaders came out in defence of Khoza showed that the “threat” worked.

At the conference, DA provincial leader Chris Hattingh was re-elected. He was challenged by DA councillor Carien Visser, who also leads the Sannieshof Ratepayers Organisation.

Zille said the party hoped to take control of the North West province in coming elections. She admitted though that the general elections in 2014 might be too soon.

She said although last year’s local government election results were the best ever, “it was heartbreaking not to be able to win a council in the North West”.

The party did well in Tlokwe, winning 37.02% of the vote after the ANC failed to register for elections in seven wards.

Provincially DA votes increased from 8.9% to 15.9%.

Zille said the ANC’s divisions and lobbying for Mangaung is drawing the party’s attention away from service delivery and the pligth of the poor.

“So we must ask, why do voters still vote for them?” she said.

Zille accused the ANC of mobilising on the basis of “race and division”.

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