Carol Paton Writer at Large

Helen Zille is getting ready to write a series of articles about her failures, she says. After 10 years as premier of the Western Cape, Zille has built the most effective administration in the country. Her director-general’s office has a wall covered with awards; her administration has outplayed every province and national department in performance, according to all the measures of the department of monitoring and evaluation in the presidency; and with over 80% of clean audits across all departments she has built a government that holds both politicians and officials accountable. Having presided over a period of growth in the DA and led the party’s charge from opposition into government, one might imagine that she would be preparing to write about her successes. But few people are as obsessed as she is about achievement and being right; failures only make her more determined to drill down into the problem; arguments make her more determined to argue more and for longer. Though we me...

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