In Defence of Helen Zille
(The South Afrika I want )

I know good white people. I know bad white people. I know good black people. I know bad black people. I know good Coloured people. I know bad Coloured people. I know good Indian people. I know bad Indian people.

However I shall not be caught dead accusing Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille of being a bad white person. If anything I would classify her as a white person who is so concerned about the ‘wrong’ direction this country is taking which is borne exclusively out of dead policies like the cadre deployment programme.

I come from a municipality that is categorized as poor from an economic base point of view. It is a poor municipality for which the contradiction is that the people who work for it and those who get contracts from it are getting filthy rich. It’s a municipality whereby politicians and managers are growing wealthy by the day. It’s a municipality whereby every single person employed by it belongs to a certain political party – from the municipal manager to the cleaner.

But quite intriguing is that it’s a municipality that has failed to reverse the boundaries of poverty and to set up infrastructure necessary for the development of the place. I come from a township that does not have street lights, no tar-road, no sewerage and no constant supply of water. However according to municipal planning this infrastructure exists. It was planned for in the Integrated Development Plan, a contractor was appointed for it, did half-baked job, got paid his full payment and disappeared.

Rumour says he split some of the bounty with politicians and managers in the municipality. I come from a ward whereby my councilor is a 40-something years old woman who can not read or write. Councilors are supposed to be legislators but she can’t even understand the first thing about the Local Government Act or the some pieces of municipal legislation. She’s a beneficiary of the ANC’s 50/50 deployment policy.

I look at our country’s new cabinet searching for inspiration but I don’t find none as I see the usual suspects who have failed in portfolios somewhere else. Edna Molewa, Paul Mashatile, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Dina Pule, Thabang Makwetla, Lulama Xingwana, Angie Motshega, Phillip Gondongwana etc. All I see are chess pieces moved to strategic points so that they can strike the queen without any hindrance. I see a minister of justice who is put there to appoint a crony Judicial Services Commission that will squash charges against a suspended suspect judge. A minister deployed to constitute the Human Rights Commission with cronies. I see a Minister of Defence appointed to empower so-called war-veterans who are becoming younger every month. I see a minister appointed to deal with women, children and disabled affairs who is put there to appease disabled people at the expense of the taxpayer.

I try to find inspiration somewhere else and I do so in the Western Cape. There I see a cabinet that is not constituted for cosmetic purposes, not to portray a perfect picture. I see a predominantly white/all make cabinet that is not obsessed with political correctness but service delivery.

Give me a politically incorrect structure with balls anytime and I will endorse it. I am not one for perfect pictures but for service delivery. I rather have an all female competent team in Iran than a gender-mixed incompetent team in South Afrika. I am not one to embrace tokens and people appointed to positions for party political purposes or as rewards for loyalty. Loyalty to your party shouldn’t cost me the taxpayer money since you are not loyal to me. I’m all for free thinkers who are not always on the phone taking instructions from their bosses who mostly are out of touch with reality – like my councilor.

I agree with Zille that the only crime she committed was to wrestle the Western Cape from a divided African National Congress. I disagree with the Commission on Gender Equality that is vocal about Zille’s all-male cabinet while it’s quiet about girl-child abuse in high schools, women being deployed as tokens to positions they hardly understand – like my councilor and Julius Malema’s reference to a 58-year old woman as a ‘girl’. Where is the commission and others of its ilk as Julius keeps on insulting Zille day in and day out.

This is not the South Afrika I envisaged while I was in that jail cell in 1989. I didn’t vote for Helen, Zuma or COPE, but I love a good argument. I believe that indeed Zille is right about promiscuity by a polygamist putting his wives in danger. It just beats me why such a scientific reality can’t be shared by the Youth League which is either filled with blind-loyalists or is just out of touch with reality as well.

Over the weekend one of my friends argued that Zuma apologised for his promiscuity. I told him I’m one of those who have not yet forgiven him for that – and maybe Zille if one of them since Zuma can not expect that misdemeanor to be erased from the minds of the nation from a simple abridged ‘I’m sorry’.

What South Afrika do I want? A South Afrika whereby people are not judged by the colour of their skin but the content of their character. A South Afrika that values talent to party loyalty. A South Afrika whereby 10.6 million people who voted for the ANC but are not members are not denied opportunities for the mere fact that they are one of the approximately 400 000 or so card-carrying ANC members. An equal opportunity South Afrika. Am I asking too much? Maybe. But I’m an idealist and I often speak my mind. This is food for though – eat it and allow me to do the dishes.


  1. Very great post.
    Made me a bit bleak... but some things should make us bleak.

  2. Well-said kasieculture!


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