Phillip Dexter sends lawyer's letter to Helen Zille over 'callous, cruel personal attack'

2019-05-23 13:24
Helen Zille. (Getty Images)

Helen Zille. (Getty Images)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

*This article has been updated with Dexter's comments

Politician Phillip Dexter has issued a lawyer's letter to former Western Cape premier Helen Zille over what he calls a "callous and cruel" personal dig about his ex-wife and child.

Zille, however, says she has consulted her lawyers and he has no leg to stand on, after the letter insisted that she desist from making further claims about his personal situation.

The spat between the two originated from her controversial "black privilege" tweet over the weekend, which has since been referred to the DA's federal executive council.

Dexter engaged with her tweets by saying: "Nonsense. A generalization about white privilege is not necessarily wrong because white privilege is real. But there is no such thing as black privilege. Telling people to 'wake up' because they dare to disagree with you is treating them with contempt. Just be honest about it."

Zille then tweeted: "Please pay your ex-wife and your joint child what you owe them. I am tired of getting desperate letters from them. When you have sorted out your own privilege (compared to the situation of your ex-wife and child) you can contact me again. Thank you."

Asked about the tweet, she told News24 that her point was simply: "If you live in a glass house, don't throw stones."

In a lawyer's letter shared on social media, Dexter set out the history of the custody battle involving his ex-wife and minor child.

'A callous and cruel act calculated to cause harm'

"To our knowledge, our client is up to date with his financial obligation towards the maintenance of his abducted minor daughter as agreed to in the settlement agreement," Dexter stated through his lawyer.

He added that the relevant court records in South Africa and India were easily accessible.

"Our client places on record that your public broadcasting of these personal issues in the midst of a political debate is a callous and cruel act calculated to cause harm to his reputation and good name. Dr Dexter further states that his personal life has nothing to do with the political views he was expressing in opposition to yours."

Dexter said Zille would be required to provide all evidence upon which she based her comments.

'Zille blatantly opportunistic'

Speaking to News24, Dexter said Zille was "blatantly opportunistic" and he felt she had abused her position.

"The fact that in a political debate, when she can’t win an argument, she resorts to personal attacks on people is a sign of somebody who has no ethics or morality whatsoever."

Zille shared that his ex-wife had been in contact with her for several years and that she had received substantial amounts of documented evidence.

"I am under no obligation to make any of this available to Philip Dexter. I am dealing directly with his ex-wife, who approached me in my official capacity," she said.

She felt that Dexter's reaction showed "how much he has to hide and how frightened he is".

She said he was the one who revealed his ex-wife's identity, who had a different name and lived on a different continent.

Zille felt it was Dexter, and not her, who risked the identity of his child becoming public.

"This shows he is not in the least bit interested in his child in this whole matter. He is just interested in protecting himself and his public image," she said.

"By going to the media, he shows that he is not in principle, against the matter becoming a public issue. He is only interested in ensuring that his spin prevails. I have consulted my lawyers and he has no leg to stand on."

Dexter said he took issue with Zille not contacting him to ask for his side of the story.

"Has she referred the matter to the courts or the police? She sat on the information and waited on the debate to raise it... what gives her the right to be the judge in this matter?"

He said all the court papers would show that he has fully adhered to the law.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    helen zille  |  cape town

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.