Helen Zille. Picture: VELI NHLAPO/THE SOWETAN
Helen Zille. Picture: VELI NHLAPO/THE SOWETAN
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The ANC’s latest attempt to have Western Cape Premier Helen Zille removed from office failed again on Thursday evening as DA members of the provincial legislature closed ranks around the former DA leader.

The ANC had brought the motion following Zille’s infamous Twitter comments in March about the legacy of colonialism.

Although she apologised for her remarks, Zille sought to justify her comments in a number of published opinion pieces. Following extensive talks, the DA leadership and Zille reached a settlement in June which guaranteed that she would remain premier for the remainder of her term, which ends in 2019. According to the settlement, Zille would step down from all party structures at national and provincial government. Her public communications would be limited to her role as premier, and her communication on party matters would be approved by party channels.

The outcome of the no-confidence debate in Zille was always going to be certain as the DA, which enjoys a majority in the provincial legislature, and the African Christian Democratic Party, had made it clear that it would not back calls for Zille to be removed.

Making matters worse for the ANC was the absence of Khaya Magaxa, the party’s acting leader in the province, who had sponsored the motion. Magaxa was reportedly summoned to Luthuli House to discuss the current divisions rocking the party in the province.

The DA highlighted the ANC's troubles in the province, amid suggestions that the party’s provincial executive committee could be disbanded.

"The ANC’s provincial acting chairperson Khaya Magaxa, who sponsored the motion, is absent at his own debate. Instead, he has been summoned to Luthuli House, by President Jacob Zuma to explain why the ANC in the Western Cape is in such shambles. The ANC in the province is such a mess that they need President Zuma, of all people, to fix it," said Bonginkosi Madikizela, DA Western Cape acting leader and member of the provincial legislature.

The motion was brought by ANC on the assumption that the premier did not enjoy the support of DA caucus and province, he said.

"This is a clear indication of how out of touch they are with reality… we not dealing with a political party but with a circus," he said.

Like many other DA speakers Madikizela said all indicators showed that under Zille’s leadership, the Western Cape continued to outperform other provinces.

Opening the debate for the ANC earlier, Cameron Dugmore said Zille was a "liability for the DA".

"Hold your conference, elect a new provincial leader. In meantime give Premier Zille a deadline to resign so she can exit quietly," Dugmore said.

But the DA members overwhelmingly voted in favour of an amended motion to support Zille’s premiership.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za

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