Zille: I shot us in the foot with ‘refugee’ tweet

2012-10-13 12:05

DA leader Helen Zille has admitted that her tweet about learners from the Eastern Cape being education “refugees” in the Western Cape had almost cost the party a ward.

Her tweet, during a by-election campaign battle with the ANC for a hotly contested ward in Grabouw in the Western Cape, sparked a war of words and condemnation from opposition parties as well as from within the DA.

In the tweet she said: “While ECape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools ... mainly 4 ECape edu refugees”.

Speaking from the cuff during her address to the DA’s Western Cape congress today, she said she did “a stupid thing”.

“The ANC thought they could take Grabouw back, and to make things worse, I shot us in the foot with that tweet,” she said.

“The tweet was taken the wrong way, but I should have foreseen that.”

Despite the hostile atmosphere, she said the party’s election team pulled through and won the ward.

Zille said she sat up that night waiting for the results, and “tears streamed down my face” when she heard the DA had retained the ward.

Zille also warned the Western Cape leaders, the only province where the DA is in power, not to become complacent because that would mean the party would lose voters.

At the congress Western Cape Sports MEC, Ivan Meyer, was unanimously nominated for new provincial leader, to take over from Health MEC Theuns Botha.

After 12 years in the job, Botha has stepped down into the newly created position of deputy provincial chairman.

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell was the sole nominee to remain in his position as provincial chairperson.

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