The DA pandered to racial politics for the first time – Zille

The DA pandered to racial politics for the first time – Zille

Helen Zille. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Jaco Marais).

The outgoing Western Cape premier reflected on her party apparently losing ground to the FF+.

Outgoing Western Cape premier Helen Zille took to Twitter on Thursday to ruminate on what she sees as the inability of her party – the Democratic Alliance (DA) – to grow sufficiently in the 2019 elections.

According to her: “For the first time in this election, the DA pandered to racial politics. It didn’t work. Hope we learn the lesson”.

Zille was responding to a Twitter user who wrote: “I think the question is whether the DA can ditch race-based policy making while continuing to grow among black voters. I think it’s possible. Long term the idea should be to shed nationalists of all stripes and build something that can transcend race. Not easy though.”

Earlier, Zille appeared to agree with the Capitalist Party of South Africa’s Roman Cabanac, who said the Democratic Alliance has “gone backwards” at this year’s polls.

“Breaks my heart. But the [Western] Cape is reason for optimism,” Zille replied.

Just after voting closed on Wednesday, an innocuous tweet from Zille asking if “Cape Town tweeps” had voted turned into a minor race-row, after a user responded saying: “We want land,” adding that he wants the DA to lose power in the Western Cape.

“To do what with? Grow food and create jobs? What’s happening with the millions of hectares currently in black hands? Are we feeding more and employing more with the Land in black hands? I’ll listen to your reply on the radio,” Zille replied.

Her tweet received a minor backlash, with one user calling it “blatantly racist”.

READ MORE: ‘Shem’ says Zille to EFF’s ‘white voters’

Zille defended her comments, responding to another user who asked why Zille chose to “racialise the matter” by saying: “I completely agree with you about the inapplicability of racial generalizations. I am talking about ownership systems. Communal ownership results in lack of productivity, food and jobs. Commercial farming requires a totally different model.”

The DA had gained 22.75% of the vote nationally as of 5pm, 51.61% in the Western Cape and 23.58% in Gauteng. Follow the results live here.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

today in print