Tag Archives: Helen Zille

Birds of a political feather

Politicians with competing ideologies like to think of themselves as fundamentally different: socialist versus capitalist, libertarian as opposed to authoritarian, etc. Given, however, the universality of the human condition, they are actually often more alike in their personal foibles and personalities than they would care to acknowledge. Or have us to notice. For example, there…

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Maimane in, but DA still struggles with discernible identity

Mmusi Maimane it is, then. Certainly since the resignation of Helen Zille in April, Maimane seemed the obvious choice to lead the DA. A near-90% landslide victory against candidate Wilmot James showed just that, and underlined the blistering speed of his ascension. On the face of it Maimane looks good for the undertaking: greatly composed,…

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Verwoerdgate: A different take on Alistair’s faux pas

Alistair Sparks undoubtedly put his foot in it by referring, in the context of praising Helen Zille, to Hendrik Verwoerd as a “smart” politician. Whether he likes it or not, lumping the two together, as well as including him in a list of otherwise progressively inclined white parliamentarians from the apartheid era, to some degree…

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How Helen Zille turned the DA upside down and inside out

Politics nowhere is for sissies. But South African politics is particularly vicious — a cesspit of blind hatred and vitriol, possibly unsurpassed among the democracies. Today’s leaders of both the governing African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance have been particularly targeted. That they stoically endure this abuse is a measure of the resilient…

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Was Helen Zille done in by her race obsession?

Helen Zille’s shock resignation as leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) has triggered intense speculation as to who will replace her. Given the party’s federal congress is less than a month away, palace intrigue dominates all discussion. However, most suggest that Mmusi Maimane, the party’s parliamentary leader, is the hot favourite to win. Zille’s…

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Mbete, a disaster as National Assembly speaker

So, it is all okay then? National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has apologised for labelling her bête noire Julius Malema a ‘cockroach’. After all, to err is human, to forgive divine? No, it is not okay. If the farce that played out around President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) were to have…

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Lost for words to describe Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma

It is something that is always at the back of the minds of leaders: the question of how they will be remembered by subsequent generations. In the deferential East, the Chinese will happily bob and scrape to such obvious fibs as The Great Helmsman to describe mass murderer Mao Zedong, while North Korea hails Kim…

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ANC flat-footed by EFF: The enemy within

The ANC’s response to political newcomers, the EFF, bears an eerie resemblance to the DA’s response to Gareth van Onselen. What this shows is that, irrespective of affiliation, parties have a limited ability to deal with, and respond to, political criticism. This is especially the case when the criticism comes from “one of their own”….

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Farmers take the heat while the chiefs sit pretty

Nothing in South African politics is as emotionally loaded as land restitution. It is so emotive an issue – emblematic of centuries of discrimination, exploitation and humiliation — that there exists an array of radical populists who clearly have a vested interest in the matter never being resolved. At least, not peacefully. After all, “drive…

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Reducing Zille-Mazibuko saga to race a dangerous game

By Kameel Premhid and Dan de Kadt In a recent article for the Mail & Guardian, Verashni Pillay, an associate editor, argues that “white mentors need a wake-up call”. Her central thesis is that white mentors are prone to feeling a sense of ownership over their “black protégés” and that they struggle to cope when…

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