Zille slams leaks

2014-05-19 00:00

DA leader Helen Zille has accused members of the party’s federal executive of selectively leaking information to the media to promote their own agendas in the DA promotion race.

Zille yesterday took to task senior DA leaders in the DA newsletter, SA Today, in reaction to a report in the Sunday Times stating she had “made”, and several times “saved”, the DA’s outgoing parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Zille also set the record straight on Twitter, responding to one follower, Phil Craig, — who advised Zille silence would be a wiser reaction to make the story disappear — that she could not allow these distortions to go unchallenged.

“I don’t mind being excoriated for things I did say, but not for things I didn’t. My newsletter, later today, will set the record straight,” she tweeted.

In her letter she strongly denied that she had attacked Mazibuko publicly as the newspaper reported and said information had been selectively leaked from the Friday meeting of the federal executive in Johannesburg.

“The Sunday Times story is misleadingly designed to make it appear as if it is based on a public attack by me against Lindiwe Mazibuko. This is devoid of truth.

“The story has been concocted by twisting selective leaks from the DA’s Federal Executive meeting, in which, inevitably, Lindiwe’s decision to go to Harvard University, and the implications of her decision, were discussed.

“We also discussed the problem of selective leaks from the Fedex to advance personal agendas in the DA’s succession race.”

Zille conceded that she “had worked very hard” to promote Mazibuko’s career.

“In fact, I said I had never done as much to promote any person’s career in the DA before. This is an objective, evidence-based fact. I did not say I ‘made’ her. And I did not say I ‘saved’ her. I certainly did not say that she would be ‘nothing without me’, as the Sunday Times headline falsely claims,” Zille wrote.

She said she did repeatedly take responsibility for mistakes made by Mazibuko in Parliament, “in an attempt to protect her and the parliamentary team”.

She told the executive after Mazibuko was elected, “a Berlin wall was erected between her office and mine, and my advice was ignored. Major decisions were made without any discussion, resulting in serious mistakes, for which I then stepped forward and took responsibility. This is also common cause, and evidenced by the record.”

In her letter she repeated that Mazibuko had decided to go to study at Harvard because “it was clear that she faced the prospect of defeat in the election for parliamentary leader, and wanted to avoid this”.

Mazibuko did not answer her phone yesterday.

The Maimane issue

A senior DA source yesterday told sister-paper Beeld there is division in the federal executive about Zille’s insistence that the “inexperienced” Mmusi Maimane become the DA parliamentary leader.

“There is a lot of unhappiness about Zille’s undemocratic way of working …”

The source said especially black leaders were unhappy with the latest brouhaha surrounding Mazibuko. “It insinuated that Zille sees black leaders as filling a quota, regardless of whether there is merit in their posting.

“It is also felt that she wants to put a strong support team for Maimane in place because she herself does not trust his inexperience.”

Chairperson of the DA’s federal executive James Selfe, who reportedly turned down an offer from Zille for him to be the parliamentary leader for a year until Maimane could take over, yesterday referred questions to Zille.

Using media cover

In her letter, Zille wrote it was equally concerning to her how “some media platforms are being abused by so-called journalists and columnists who are embedded in a particular faction of the DA”.

“It should be of serious concern to journalists and media practitioners that such individuals are using their media ‘cover’ to drive a factional agenda in the DA’s succession battle.”

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