Helen Zille on ANC 'race-baiting': 'That tiger is now eating its own'

25 November 2019 - 06:53 By Unathi Nkanjeni
DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille.
DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille.
Image: RUVAN BOSHOFF

“The ANC has ridden the tiger of racial scapegoating for 25 years. That tiger is now eating its own”.

These were the words of DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille, who reacted to The Sunday Independent's claims that public enterprises Pravin Gordhan was on an “anti-black crusade” by appointing white people to key positions at state-owned enterprises, sidelining their black counterparts.

The publication alleged that Gordhan launched a “crusade” against black executives by appointing Nampak's CEO, Andre de Ruyter, as Eskom's CEO, despite him not having an engineering qualification. It also said Gordhan delayed the appointment of Transnet's CEO for months because he did not approve of the shortlisted candidates.

On social media, Zille said: “Interesting to watch how ANC race-baiting is now biting leading ANC figures themselves, such as Jessie Duarte and Pravin Gordhan,” said Zille.

The remark about ANC deputy secretary-general Duarte related to comments she made at a memorial for Albertina Sisulu at the Naledi Community Hall in Soweto at the weekend. 

According to IOL, Duarte said: “We have almost become tribalists in the way we present ourselves. We are racist in the ANC because we marginalise people who are not black African people; keep them out of the ANC at all costs.”

John Steenhuisen chimes in

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen chimed in: “Why are you surprised, when your party has driven nothing but a race-based agenda for the past 25 years?”

Criticism about De Ruyter's appointment

De Ruyter accepted the top job at the embattled entity at a lower salary than the post normally commands, after as many as 27 top black executives, who were approached to apply for the job, declined.

Speaking at an SACP fundraising gala dinner on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa threw his weight behind de Ruyter.

He hit back at criticism, saying it was “anti-transformative” and insisted he had the “appropriate skills for the job”.

He said since 1994 all 11 CEOs of Eskom had been black.

“Some of the criticism has been that because we have chosen someone who is not black, someone who is not African, that we have now regressed, we have moved backward.

“The transformation agenda of the SA government under the leadership of the ANC, and under my leadership and Pravin Gordhan’s leadership, has now taken a number of steps backward.”


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