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Is Helen Zille racist? Here's the Vrye Weekblad view

The former DA leader says she is fighting against identity politics. Ironically, her fightback strategy is actually supporting it

24 May 2019 - 09:57 By Max du Preez
Helen Zille.
Helen Zille.

"Hell ... if you'd said these things ahead of the election, I would never have run from the DA to the Freedom Front Plus," someone told Helen Zille this week on Twitter.

Zille's post-election Twitter storm about black and white privilege is indeed a form of "slaan terug [hit back]", the FF+ slogan that delivered the party so many votes, writes Max du Preez in the latest edition of online Afrikaans weekly Vrye Weekblad.

The former Western Cape premier and DA leader's tweets will now be debated by the opposition party's federal executive, but it seems her comments and unapologetic attitude are making her even more popular among white votes in particular.

This could increase the gap between white and black DA supporters and isolate party leader Mmusi Maimane even more.

The storm brewing around the DA strengthened this week when MP Belinda Bozzoli objected on Twitter to ANC MPs' singing in Parliament: "ANC trying to 'claim' Parliament as their own by using a recess to dominate the chamber through sound. Their persistent and relentlessly deafening singing of struggle songs is really irritating."

She attached an article she had written about the dangers of ethnic nationalism, by way of explanation. She was immediately accused of racism, intolerance and cultural naivety, and of denial of SA's struggle history.

"Enough is enough" is the theme of a large number of white people and DA supporters who support Zille's campaign on social media – many of these under the banner of #ThankYouHelen.

Perhaps this is also a sign of the gatvol factor among especially the white minority, which has become more prevalent in the past few years – a factor that certainly played a role in the increased support for the FF+.