Zille’s playful little Zuma crush

2013-10-20 12:00

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President Jacob Zuma has managed to wrap one of his fiercest opponents around his little finger.

DA leader Helen Zille, fresh from a meeting of the presidential coordinating council in the Union Buildings in Pretoria, swooned about the man she has often fiercely criticised in the past.

“No one is as nice to me as President Zuma,” she told an audience at an event organised by the SA Institute of Race Relations at the Johannesburg Country Club on Thursday evening.

“And I always say ... he’s incredibly nice to me. He calls me ntombi (girl), which I take as a huge compliment, I tell you.

“And no one in the DA is nearly as nice to me as President Zuma,” she confided to laughter from the audience.

Zille earlier said that, as a premier who is allowed to attend extended Cabinet lekgotlas, she had a unique ringside seat to the jostling for power within the ANC’s leadership ranks.

In the past, she was always among Zuma’s most vocal critics.

Shortly after he was sworn in as president, Zille hit back at the criticism of her all-male Cabinet in the Western Cape by saying Zuma held “deeply sexist views”.

She also accused the president of being a “womaniser” and said he was putting “all his wives at risk of contracting HIV” by having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman – something he admitted to in his rape trial.

But Zille is now also enjoying more cordial relations with other bigwigs in the governing ANC.

“I had a good fun interaction with (Gauteng) Premier Nomvula Mokonyane,” she said, still referring to her Thursday meeting. “I talked to her, and she said: ‘Hi Helen,’ and she comes and puts her hands around me.

“She said: ‘It’s so nice now that I’m the premier of Sedibeng.’

And she goes on, talking to me about how wonderful it is that they have now annexed Midvaal,” Zille said, referring to the decision this week by the municipal demarcation board to merge the Midvaal – where the DA is governing – and Emfuleni municipalities.

But Zille had the last word in this exchange.

“I said: ‘Don’t worry, we’re coming to take the whole of Gauteng.’”

She added: “There is a very warm relationship between us.”

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