ANC, DA debate racism, transformation in WCape

2017-05-04 18:48
Western Cape premier Helen Zille reacts to an ANC speaker, Cameron Dugmore, referring to her infamous 'refugee-tweet' during a debate on racism in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Western Cape premier Helen Zille reacts to an ANC speaker, Cameron Dugmore, referring to her infamous 'refugee-tweet' during a debate on racism in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - According to the African National Congress, the Western Cape is a "bastion of racism", while the Democratic Alliance says the province it governs is "radically transformed", the Western Cape legislature heard on Thursday.

The ANC used the debate about transformation in the province to increase the pressure on Premier Helen Zille following the furore over her tweets on colonialism, for which she will still face disciplinary action from the party she once led.

The debate was themed: "The refusal by the DA-run provincial government under leadership of Premier Helen Zille to transform and address racism in the Western Cape."

The DA used the opportunity to ride the wave of sentiment against President Jacob Zuma.

The central theme of the ANC's speeches was that the DA reversed transformation due to its inherent racism, as embodied by Zille.

'Racist statements'

Khaya Magaxa, leader of the opposition in the legislature, extolled the ANC's struggle credentials and contribution to the Constitution.

"Under the DA, this province became a bastion for racism," Magaxa said.

"Oh, rubbish!" interjected Zille, sitting opposite Magaxa.

He referred to Zille's "racist statements" upon which she leapt up for the first of several points of order from both sides of the House.

Zille argued that "racist statements" impugned her character and was therefore unparliamentary.

This was similar to the rule ANC MPs often used to in the National Assembly when DA MPs wanted to speak about Zuma's alleged corruption.

ANC MPL Cameron Dugmore said "institutionalised racism and privilege captures the consciousness of this premier". He referred to tweets in which Zille referred to "professional blacks" and "refugees".

"They [the ANC] twist any normal word to a racist connotation because they are failing in government," Zille countered.

"Keep quiet and listen," ANC MPL Richard Dyantyi snarled at her.

Deputy speaker Piet Pretorius ruled in Zille's favour both times.

Zille did not deliver a speech during the debate.

'Cooking the books'

DA speakers like MECs Bonginkosi Madikizela, Ivan Meyer and Alan Winde all sang from the same hymn sheet.

They referred to documents by bodies like the Presidency and the Auditor General in which the province's governance was lauded, and compared it to what they called the ANC's failures.

They argued that good governance meant they were transforming the province, and that the ANC was being racially divisive to hide Zuma's failings.

"We have radically transformed this province," boasted Meyer.

During his speech he waved books titled Zuma Exposed and When Zuma Goes.

"This debate actually exposed Mr Zuma. It's exposing the hypocrisy of your leader," said Meyer.

When Dyantyi heckled him, Meyer yelled back: "You were one of the MECs that were cooking the books."

Pretorius had to call "order" at least three times before Meyer quieted down.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  politics

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