A letter from Helen Zille regarding comments made by the ANC
Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance
13 May 2009
FROM: HELEN ZILLE, LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE
I have had a number of queries around the background of the stand-off between me and the ANC.
The issue started when various spokespersons of the ANC-tripartite alliance accused me of sexism. I wrote the following letter in reply. The Sowetan pulled out one sentence to pursue their established agenda. This got the whole controversy going.
I therefore enclose the full letter below, so that you can judge it for yourself, in context.
Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Letter to the Editor of the Argus. From Helen Zille
Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, whose party, the ANC, has just dropped a woman from the Deputy President position, has a nerve to attack me over the gender composition of the DA and ID Western Cape Provincial Cabinet (Cape Argus 11 May 2009).
The ANC, in all its 90 years of existence, has never elected (or deployed)a woman as its leader. The DA has done so within the first ten years of its existence. In fact, until recently, both the DA's national leader and Parliamentary leader were women.
The ANC's alliance partners, the SACP and COSATU, are also led by men. And, more significantly, the ANC's leader, Jacob Zuma, is a self-confessed womanizer with deeply sexist views, who put all his wives at risk by having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman. Even after this the ANC women's league strongly endorsed his Presidential campaign. Their professions of support for women's rights ring hollow indeed against this background.
While some of the ANC's senior women achieved their positions on merit, others are well known "quota appointments". The ANC can therefore pretend to be serious about women's rights, while actually patronizing women who want to be recognized for their ability.
Jacob Zuma is able to make all his quota and politically expedient appointments because he has extended his Cabinet (including deputy
Ministers) to a ludicrous 62 members -- at taxpayers' expense.
In contrast, Provinces are confined by law to 10 MECs drawn from the list elected to the provincial Parliament.
Zuma's expanded cabinet will cost an extra R19 million in salaries alone, before adding the cost of all the staff and perks to which they are entitled. But the real power remains firmly in the hands of the 'big men'.
This is blatant hypocrisy. When women are appointed to meet a quota, it is an insult to every woman who has achieved her position through adding value, such as women in the DA.
By paying lip-service to the empowerment of women, the ANC is also promoting the mindset that only women can care about the issues affecting women, or do something about them. The same applies to the ANC's warped logic regarding race, which says that only black people can care about black people, that only whites can care about whites and so on. This is racist nationalist thinking which goes against the letter and spirit of our constitution. It is also something that every intelligent South African should reject.
In the DA we believe that human beings can care for each other regardless of race or gender. The real test of democratic equality is how well services are delivered to everyone, on an equatible basis, not the colour or gender of the people delivering them.
Premier of the Western Cape