Helen Zille

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Helen Zille
Premier of the Western Cape (8053071289) (cropped).jpg
Zille in 2012
Chairperson of the Federal Council of the Democratic Alliance
Assumed office
20 October 2019
DeputyThomas Walters
James Masango
Ashor Sarupen
LeaderJohn Steenhuisen
Mmusi Maimane
Preceded byJames Selfe
Federal Leader of the Democratic Alliance
In office
6 May 2007 – 10 May 2015
Preceded byTony Leon
Succeeded byMmusi Maimane
7th Premier of the Western Cape
In office
6 May 2009 – 22 May 2019
Preceded byLynne Brown
Succeeded byAlan Winde
Mayor of Cape Town
In office
15 March 2006 – 30 April 2009
DeputyGrant Haskin
Preceded byNomaindia Mfeketo
Succeeded byGrant Haskin (acting)
Dan Plato
Member of the National Assembly of South Africa
In office
14 April 2004 – 15 March 2006
ConstituencyWestern Cape
Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament
In office
6 May 2009 – 7 May 2019
In office
15 June 1999 – 13 April 2004
Personal details
Otta Helene Zille

(1951-03-09) 9 March 1951 (age 71)
Johannesburg, Transvaal, Union of South Africa
Political partyDemocratic Alliance (2000–present)
Other political
Democratic Party (before 2000)
Johann Maree
(m. 1982)
Residence(s)Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Alma materSt Mary's School, Waverley
University of the Witwatersrand
  • Politician
  • legislator
  • activist

Otta Helene Maree (née Zille /ˈzɪlə/;[1] born 9 March 1951), known as Helen Zille, is a South African politician. She has served as the Chairperson of the Federal Council of the Democratic Alliance since 20 October 2019. From 2009 until 2019, she was the Premier of the Western Cape province for two five-year terms,[2] and a member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.[3] She served as Federal Leader of the Democratic Alliance from 2007 to 2015 and as Mayor of Cape Town from 2006 to 2009.

Zille is a former journalist and anti-apartheid activist[4][5][6] and was one of the journalists who exposed the cover-up around the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko while working for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970s.[7] She also worked with the Black Sash and other pro-democracy groups during the 1980s.[8] In the political arena, Zille has served in all three tiers of government, as the Western Cape's education MEC (1999–2001), as a Member of Parliament (2004–2006), as Mayor of Cape Town (2006–2009), and as Premier of the Western Cape (2009–2019).

Zille was selected as World Mayor of the Year in 2008.[9][10] She was also chosen as Newsmaker of the Year 2006 by the National Press Club in July 2007. Zille speaks English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, and German.[11]

Following her departure from the premiership in May 2019, she joined the South African Institute of Race Relations as a senior policy fellow in July 2019, though she suspended her fellowship in October 2019.[12] She started her own podcast, Tea with Helen, in August 2019.[13] Zille declared her candidacy for Federal Council Chairperson of the DA in October 2019.[14] She won the election.

Early life and career[edit]

Early years, education and family[edit]

Helen Zille was born in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, the eldest child of parents who separately left Germany in the 1930s to avoid Nazi persecution due to the fact that her maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were Jewish.[15]

Zille was believed to be the grandniece of the Berlin painter Heinrich Zille. She gave corresponding hints by herself in the past but withdrew them in her autobiography published in 2016.[16] The Berlin genealogist Martina Rhode had documented before that there was a mix-up in the handwritten notes of her uncle Heinrich between people with the same name but different birthplaces and dates of birth.[17]

Her mother was a volunteer with the Black Sash Advice Office.[18] While her family lived in Rivonia, she was educated at Johannesburg's St Mary's School, Waverley, one of the city's private education schools.[19] She studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. Around 1969, she joined the Young Progressives, the youth movement of the liberal and anti-apartheid Progressive Party.[20]

She married Professor Johann Maree in 1982, and they have two sons. She is a member of the Rondebosch United Church in Cape Town.[21]

Political journalism[edit]

Zille began her career as a political correspondent for the Rand Daily Mail newspaper in 1974.[22] During September 1977, the South African Minister of Justice and the Police J.T. Kruger announced that anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko had died in prison as the result of an extended hunger strike. Zille and her editor Allister Sparks were convinced Kruger's story was a cover-up, and Zille obtained concrete proof of this after tracking down and interviewing doctors involved in the case.[7]

Consequent to the publication of the story, headlined "No sign of hunger strike—Biko doctors", Minister Kruger immediately threatened to ban the newspaper, and Zille received death threats.[7] Zille and Sparks were represented at the subsequent quasi-judicial Press Council by defence lawyer Sydney Kentridge. The two were found to be guilty of "tendentious reporting", and the paper was forced to issue a correction. Kentridge later helped confirm the accuracy of Zille's account when he represented the Biko family at the inquest into his death. That inquest found Biko's death had been the result of a serious head injury but failed to find any individual responsible.[23]

Zille resigned from the Rand Daily Mail along with editor Allister Sparks, after the paper's owner, Anglo American, demanded that Sparks quiet the paper's equal rights rhetoric.[24]

Anti-apartheid movement[edit]

Zille was heavily involved in the Black Sash movement during the 1980s. She served on the regional and national executives of the organisation, and was also vice-chair of the End Conscription Campaign in the Western Cape. During this time, she was arrested for being in a "group area" without a permit and received a suspended prison sentence. Zille and her husband later offered their home as a safe house for political activists during the 1986 State of Emergency, and she was temporarily forced into hiding with their two-year-old son.[8]

Zille was also actively involved in the South Africa Beyond Apartheid Project and the Cape Town Peace Committee. She later gathered evidence for the Goldstone Commission which investigated attempts to destabilise the Western Cape before the elections in 1994.[25][26]

Education policy work[edit]

Zille formed a public policy consultancy in 1989, and in 1993 she was offered the position of Director of Development and Public Affairs at the University of Cape Town. During this time Zille also chaired the governing body of Grove Primary School, and in 1996 led a successful challenge against government policy limiting governing bodies' powers to appoint staff.[27]

Zille was then invited by the Democratic Party (now the Democratic Alliance) to write a draft policy for Education in the Western Cape. In 1999 she became a Member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature and was appointed MEC for Education.[28]

In 2004, Zille became a Member of Parliament with the DA. Within the DA, she rose to the level of deputy federal chairperson and served as national party spokesperson and spokesperson for education.[29]


Freedom Day Rally 2011 at Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square in Mamelodi

2006 municipal elections and aftermath[edit]

In the 2006 municipal elections, the DA became the single largest party in Cape Town with 42.0% of the vote, ahead of the African National Congress (ANC). Zille was elected mayor by 106 votes to 103 on 15 March 2006, after the DA obtained the support of several smaller parties.

Subsequently, Zille's multi-party government decided to revoke the appointment of Cape Town City Manager Wallace Mgoqi, whose term of appointment had been extended by the outgoing ANC executive mayor, Nomaindia Mfeketo.[30] Zille's decision was upheld by the High Court, which ruled that the extension of Mgoqi's appointment by the previous mayor had been unlawful.

Zille has faced considerable opposition and confrontation from the ANC. In September 2006, the provincial ANC MEC Richard Dyantyi announced that he planned to replace the city's mayoral system with an executive committee. The move would have resulted in reduced mayoral power, and the governing party would not itself have been able to assign the ten seats on the committee, which would instead have been allocated on a proportional representation basis.[31] Dyanti and Zille agreed to retain the current mayoral system if the ANC were provided with two additional sub-committees in areas of the city controlled by the ANC. The matter was thus resolved.[32]


Zille's commitments as mayor included Cape Town's role as a designated host city for the 2010 World Cup, as well as the construction and financing of the Cape Town Stadium, which hosted 8 FIFA World Cup football matches in 2010.[33]

A particular concern of Zille's was the problem of drug abuse in Cape Town, especially crystal methamphetamine (tik) abuse. She called for the promotion of drug rehabilitation centres and further funding from the government to battle drug abuse and met with local communities to discuss the issue.[34]

Zille objected to plans to incorporate the metro police into the broader police service, arguing that such a move would remove considerable power from local government and vest more control in the hands of the National Police Commissioner at the time, Jackie Selebi,[35] who was later convicted of corruption.[36]


Housing and service delivery[edit]

Although provincial rather than local government is tasked with housing delivery,[37] Zille claimed that her municipality's efforts to reform housing lists and improve verification processes also allowed housing delivery to be increased from 3000 units per annum under the ANC, to 7000 units per annum between 2006 and 2008 under her administration as mayor.[38]

In an article titled "The ANC is pro-poverty not pro-poor" published shortly before the 2009 general election, Zille pointed out that no budget allocation existed for upgrading informal settlements under the ANC administration, whereas in 2007 her administration had set a dedicated budget for the provision of water, electricity, and sanitation.[39]

DA Leader[edit]

Zille and Gauteng DA leader Janet Semple in 2010
Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille at the DA Federal Congress, 2010.
Zille campaigning in Mpumalanga ahead of the 2011 municipal elections


On 15 March 2007, Zille declared herself a candidate to succeed outgoing leader of the DA, Tony Leon. A favourite from the start, with backing from the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape, the Free State and even the Eastern Cape (regarded during much of the build-up as the stronghold of main rival Athol Trollip),[40] she was elected as the new leader by a large majority on 6 May 2007. She indicated that she would lead the party from outside Parliament, while continuing in her position as executive mayor of Cape Town.


When she became the leader of the DA, Zille challenged the majority government on several issues.[41]


Of particular concern to Zille was the government's response to alarming crime statistics released in July 2007.[42] She has accused the national government of rewarding criminals by placing individuals convicted of serious crimes high up on their national parliamentary lists.[43] Zille has said that the DA would reinstate child protection units, the South African Narcotics Bureau and the Scorpions unit, all of which have been disbanded.[44]

In August 2008, Zille announced proposals to boost the size of the police force to 250 000, employ an additional 30 000 detectives, improve detention programmes and use of information technology, and radically overhaul the justice system. She also said the party's comprehensive new crime plan would include provisions for a Victims of Crime Fund.[45]


Zille warned against the controversial National Health Amendment Bill, legislation allowing greater state intervention in private health care. She warned that the state will destroy the system. She outlined the possibility that the Bill could drive away thousands of skilled medical professionals.[46] Together with her political party, she proposed an alternative health plan, for the privatisation of state healthcare.[47] The National Health Amendment Act became law in 2013 and provides for the establishment of a new Office of Health Standards Compliance.[48]

Judicial independence[edit]

As DA leader, Zille has also frequently questioned judicial independence in South Africa, in light of the alleged behaviour of the Cape judge president John Hlophe in trying to influence the Constitutional Court judges to rule in favour of ANC president Jacob Zuma. She also cited racism directed towards those in the judiciary, and has criticised the perceived double standards vocally.[49][50]

Political debate[edit]

In June 2008, she challenged the president of the ANC and the 2009 presidential candidate, Jacob Zuma to a public debate on ten key issues such as the arms deal, disbanding of the Scorpions, the situation in Zimbabwe, HIV/AIDS and labour legislation.[51][52] Zuma declined to participate.[53][54]

Campaign against drug and alcohol abuse[edit]

Eight members of a group called the People's Anti-Drug and Liquor Action Committee (PADLAC) were arrested in September 2007 outside the Mitchell's Plain police station. Zille was then arrested when she visited the police station to investigate. The group had been distributing pamphlets in the campaign against the abuse of alcohol and drugs in Cape Town. Police alleged that she supported vigilante groups opposed to drug abuse. She appeared in the Mitchell's Plain Magistrates Court later that week for contravening the Regulation of Gatherings Act. Zille was expected to sue the Minister of Police for wrongful arrest.[55] Zille subsequently appeared briefly before the Mitchell's Plain Magistrates Court together with a group of ten persons who had been arrested with her.[56]

On 30 September 2007 it was reported that senior intelligence sources, who were apparently unhappy with the ANC's plans to subvert state institutions to do ANC bidding, had leaked information to Zille that operatives with weapons were infiltrating PADLAC with the ultimate objective of bringing down the leader of the opposition.[57] In October 2007, Zille was acquitted of all charges brought before the Mitchell's Plain Magistrates Court on the grounds that the prosecution's case against her and nine other defendants did not stand a chance of succeeding. Zille reiterated her intention to sue the South African Police Service (SAPS) branch in the Western Cape for wrongful arrest.[58]

In March 2008, Helen Zille took her anti-drugs campaign to Johannesburg, leading a protest march. Marchers wore DA T-shirts, bearing the message No to drugs and save our children.[59]

It is not clear that Zille's activities have had any particular impact on problems of crime and substance abuse in the Western Cape.[60][61] The latest crime statistics suggest that the Western Cape is responsible for 34% of drug-related crime in South Africa.[62]

United Nations[edit]

In April 2008, Zille was asked to address the United Nations in New York City on population and development, offering her experience and lessons as mayor of Cape Town.[63]

Zille is a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reformation of the United Nations; she believes that it is necessary as it will "ensure that the citizens of every country feel more connected to the UN and its programmes".[64]

World Mayor award[edit]

Zille was nominated as one of 820 world mayors and was winner of the 2008 World Mayor Award in October 2008.[65][66]

There was controversy when the ruling ANC used its majority in the National Assembly to block (without notice) a motion by the DA acknowledging Zille's achievement in winning the 2008 World Mayor award.[67]

Resignation as Party Leader[edit]

In April 2015, Zille announced that she would not be standing for re-election as party leader.[68]

Premier of the Western Cape[edit]

Zille standing on Signal Hill in 2010
Zille at the 2011 State of the Nation Address
The official handover of the Khayelitsha Commission's findings to the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille

2009 election[edit]

The 2009 general elections presented Zille with her first major electoral contest as leader of the DA. She was selected as the candidate for Premier of the Western Cape, and her party succeeded in winning a 51.46 percent of the province's vote. Zille was installed as Premier, and replaced as mayor by Dan Plato. Nationally, the DA gained significant ground as official opposition, winning 16.66 percent of the vote, and increasing its tally of seats in both houses of Parliament to 80.[69][70]

Row with Jacob Zuma[edit]

In May 2009, shortly after being elected Premier, Zille wrote a letter to the Cape Argus newspaper that was accidentally copied by her spokesperson to the Sowetan newspaper.[71] Responding to criticism from gender lobby groups and the ANC over her all-male provincial cabinet, Zille stated in the letter that the ANC had never even been led by a woman, and that its leaders set bad examples on gender issues. She cited South African President Jacob Zuma's "deeply sexist views", accused him of being a "womaniser", and condemned him for putting "all his wives at risk of contracting HIV" by having unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman. Zuma, a polygamist, admitted in his rape trial that he had known that the woman with whom he had had sex was HIV positive.[72]

Zille's condemnation of Zuma's behaviour was then used by the Sowetan as the basis of a front-page story titled "Zuma an AIDS risk". The paper stated that Zille had "launched an extraordinary new attack" on Zuma.[73] This heralded a wave of attacks on Zille from both the ANC and a number of its alliance partners. The ANC Youth League claimed Zille was racist, and that her all-male cabinet consisted of "boyfriends and concubines so that she can continue to sleep around with them". The claim, made without substantiation, drew the ire of the DA, who consulted with their lawyers over a possible defamation suit.[74] The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association restated the Youth League's sex claims, and warned it would launch "a political programme aimed at rendering the Western Cape ungovernable".[75] The ANC also criticised Zille, but distanced itself from the remarks of its Youth League, stating that they were "deeply embarrassing".[76] In response, Zille claimed that the whole row exemplified South Africa's warped approach to gender issues.[77]

Land dispute[edit]

In May 2009, Zille accused the ANC of asset stripping. She related to the transfer of 1 000 hectares of provincial land in the Western Cape to a national body. The transfer was signed off by the former premier Lynne Brown on 21 April 2009, the day before the national elections. Zille alleged that the deal was done "secretly, in bad faith and with an ulterior motive". The ANC responded by claiming that the land deal had been publicly tabled in Parliament several times over the years and there was nothing sinister about it.[78] Zille later said that she would call for a review and rescinding of the agreement and would lodge a dispute at an intergovernmental relations meeting,[79] but the matter was resolved in January 2010, when the ANC's Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, agreed to return the land to the province before the matter could be taken to court.[80]

2014 elections and re-election[edit]

Ahead of the 2014 elections, in 2013, Thembu King Dalindyebo joined the DA as an ordinary member while he was appealing convictions for various crimes, which was seen by some as a cynical ploy by the DA to court voters.[81][82] When confronted about the membership, Zille noted that no other ordinary members were subject to tests or "due diligence" investigations, but also that the DA's constitution required Dalindyebo's membership to be terminated if his appeals failed.[83] In October 2015, Dalindyebo's convictions were upheld, and his membership of the DA was terminated.[84]

Following the 2014 general elections, the DA won 59.38% of the vote and 26 seats in the Western Cape provincial legislature, an increase of 3.25%. Under her leadership, the party also won 89 seats in the National Assembly and 22.23% of the National vote. Zille was sworn into a second term on 26 May with 27 votes out of 42, her opponent being Marius Fransman of the ANC.[85]

Succession as premier[edit]

In September 2018, the Democratic Alliance announced that it had selected Alan Winde to be the party's Western Cape Premier candidate for the 2019 South African general election. The other candidates nominated for the position were Fazloodien Abrahams, Bonginkosi Madikizela, David Maynier, Kelly Baloyi, Jacobus MacFarlane and Micheal Mack.[86] Zille was constitutionally barred from running for a third term as premier, as the South African constitution prohibits a premier from serving more than two consecutive terms.[87][88] Following the May 2019 general election, the Democratic Alliance retained its majority in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament. Zille left office on 22 May 2019.[89][90]

Later career[edit]

Press conference announcing Helen Zille as the new Federal Council Chairperson

Joining the IRR[edit]

Following her leaving public office in May 2019, it was revealed in July 2019, that she had joined the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) as a senior policy analyst. The SAIRR said upon the announcement: "The joining of forces between Ms Zille and the IRR brings together two of the loudest reformist voices in the country."[91][92] The institute soon published a controversial opinion column in September 2019, calling for Maimane to be sacked as DA leader and replaced with Alan Winde. Senior DA officials denounced the opinion piece, though Zille defended it.[93] She soon suspended her IRR fellowship in October 2019.[94][95]

Tea with Helen[edit]

Zille formed her own podcast, Tea with Helen, in August 2019 intending to engage in conversation with people who disagree with her political views. The podcast is aired on YouTube, iTunes and Spotify. The first guest on the show was Business Day's former editor-in-chief, Peter Bruce. Other people who have featured on the podcast include Ferial Haffajee, Max du Preez and Adam Habib. Zille tried to reach out to EFF leader, Julius Malema, but he rejected the invitation.[96][97][98]

Federal Council Chairperson[edit]

On 4 October 2019, Zille declared her candidacy for Federal Council Chairperson of the DA, as incumbent James Selfe had announced his retirement. Zille made the announcement after she described the party as being in "distress and political turmoil". The position is similar to the role of Secretary-General of any given political party's leadership structure. The election was held later that month and Zille won it.[99][100][101][102]


2008 Xenophobia comments[edit]

The DA and mayor Helen Zille drew criticism for their response to the 2008 xenophobic attacks in Cape Town.[103][104] In particular, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel accused Zille of "fanning the flames", by speaking out against foreign drug dealers while on a visit to Mitchell's Plain. Zille responded that she had been completely misquoted, and challenged Manuel to read newspaper transcripts of her speech.[105] Zille has also accused the ANC government of creating a dependency culture lacking of economic development that has fuelled xenophobia.[106]

Criminalisation of deliberately spreading HIV with multiple partners[edit]

While addressing a wellness summit hosted by the Western Cape Health department, Zille had called for irresponsible men who knew they were HIV positive, yet refused to use condoms and had multiple sexual partners, to be charged with attempted murder, and for a shift in focus from the treatment of preventable diseases to unpreventable diseases. Some AIDS activists warned against such a move and called Zille's remarks "careless and misleading."[107] Among those who criticized Zille's position were the Constitutional Law scholar Pierre de Vos[108] and prominent AIDS activist and director of Section 27, Mark Heywood.[107][109]

Refugees from Eastern Cape[edit]

In 2012, Zille was embroiled in controversy after she tweeted: "While E Cape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools – 22 new, 8 replacement mainly 4 E Cape edu refugees. 26 MORE new schools coming".[110]

Her statement followed on from a protest in Grabouw about overcrowding at a local school. The ANC called Zille's reference to "refugees", with regard to Eastern Cape pupils who flocked to the Western Cape for a better education, "inhumane".[111]

Zille later apologized and said she was "very, very sorry about the impact of those words". She was "sorry because it was never meant in that context at all, and it was never said in that way at all. She said "What I was trying to show up was what (Basic) Education Minister Angie Motshekga calls a 'horror story' of education in much of the Eastern Cape".[112]

Failed merger with Agang[edit]

As DA Party Leader, Zille presided over a failed attempt to merge with opposition party Agang,[113] then led by Mamphela Ramphele. After announcing the merger, and Zille famously kissing Ramphele at the news conference, the merger fell apart after five days when the DA could not come to an agreement on the way forward with Ramphele: she wanted to remain the leader of Agang while also running for the presidency of the DA, but Zille told her this would not be legal.[114][115] The ANC suggested that foreign parties were funding the merger.[116]

Colonialism controversy arising from a trip to Singapore and Japan[edit]

In March 2017, after a trip to Singapore and Japan which cost R600,000 for five people, Zille commented on Twitter that the legacy of colonialism was not all bad because it had left a legacy of infrastructure and institutions, which South Africa could build upon.[117] The consequent outrage led to internal disciplinary hearings. Zille was also investigated for her comments about the legacy of colonialism by the Human Rights Commission for "a potential violation of human dignity".[118]

Criticism and disciplinary hearing[edit]

Following accusations that she was defending colonialism, Zille noted that her views had been misconstrued,[118] but also apologised "unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not."[117]

Among those who disagreed with her were other DA members, such as Mbali Ntuli, who stated that colonialism was "only" negative,[117] and who herself faced a disciplinary hearing in 2017 for "liking" in December 2016 a Facebook comment that characterised Zille as racist;[119] Phumzile van Damme, who stated that there was not "a single aspect of [colonialism] that can be said to be positive or beneficial to Africans"; and party leader Mmusi Maimane, who stated "Colonialism‚ like Apartheid‚ was a system of oppression and subjugation. It can never be justified,"[120] but also said in the aftermath that Zille was not a racist[121] and that she had "consistently fought oppression".[122] DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia defended Zille as well-intentioned. He agreed with her that colonialism was not solely negative, and noted that many prominent intellectuals, including Chinua Achebe, Ali Mazrui, Godfrey Mwakikagile and Manmohan Singh, have expressed similar sentiments.[123][124]

The ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters both demanded that Zille be removed from her position as Western Cape Premier.[125]

As a result of her online comments, Zille was referred to the DA's Federal Legal Commission for a disciplinary hearing[120] on charges of bringing the party into disrepute and damaging the party's image.[122][126] Following this news, Zille further defended herself by noting that Nelson Mandela had held the same opinion about colonialism.[127][128] Her continued defence of her comments exacerbated internal friction in the Democratic Alliance between her and her detractors, and was seen to undermine the party leader, Maimane.[129] Maimane stated that the disciplinary charges against Zille were not limited to Twitter, and included "a series of comments [...] that have exacerbated and amplified the original tweet".[130] Some of her subsequent writings, in which she defended her views, further strained her relationship with Maimane.[126][131][132]


In April 2017, Zille faced further criticism about her visit to Singapore, which was characterised as extravagant at a price of R1 million. According to Zille's spokesperson, R636,000 was travel expenses, and another R500,000 was for "direct business engagements". Also according to the spokesperson, the trip, which included a visit to Japan, was intended to strengthen Asian investment in halaal food, and to encourage tourism to the Western Cape from that region.[130] Zille defended herself by stating that she had gone without an assistant in order to limit the expense of the trip.[133]

Apartheid tweets[edit]

In late-June 2020, Zille commented on Twitter that "There are more racist laws today than there were under apartheid". She also tweeted that had not former President F.W. de Klerk "decided to dismantle apartheid", the ANC "would still be bogged down in the mess of its so-called liberation camps and infighting" because the ANC "had no viable armed struggle to speak of.”[134] John Steenhuisen, the interim leader of the DA at the time, distanced himself from Zille's views,[135] and the Federal Legal Commission of the party launched an investigation into her comments.[136]

Dr Duncan Du Bois, a historian and political analyst, supported Helen Zille's assertion. He pointed out that, based on research by James Myburgh,[137] the Apartheid government passed 59 pieces of race-based legislation over a period of 70 years, whereas the post-Apartheid government has passed 90 laws with racial representivity mandates over a period of 25 years.[138] Political analyst James Myburgh considered Helen Zille's comments "hyperbolic" but "not (far) wrong".[137]

Allegations of nepotism[edit]

While Zille was Premier, evidence emerged that she had used her influence to provide her son, Paul Maree, who was in the process of developing his private business, with state procured equipment to test his software products. These allegations came to light when questioned by MPL Cameron Dugmore, who referred the matter to the Public Protector's office for investigation. MPL Dugmore alleged that pressure was put on the Education Department by the Premier to ensure that the tablets be provided to her son, and that other businesses were prejudiced in the process, and that the nepotism matter was clear.[139] MPL Dugmore also requested the Western Cape Legislature investigate the Premier for Breach of Ethics.

Published works[edit]

  • Zille, Helen (October 2016). Not Without a Fight. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781776090426
  • Zille, Helen (April 2021). #StayWoke: Go Broke: Why South Africa won’t survive America’s culture wars (and what you can do about it). Independently Published. ISBN 9798727953457


  1. ^ "Zille". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Applause as Zille secures premiership". IOL. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
  3. ^ Zille leaves mayor's post[permanent dead link] Post. 30 April 2009
  4. ^ "Earth Times: show/236972,worlds-best-mayor-helen-zille-says-award-a-boon-for-democracy.html". www.earthtimes.org.
  5. ^ "Helen Zille". Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Profile: Helen Zille". BBC News. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  7. ^ a b c "Steve Biko's legacy lives on – Zille".
  8. ^ a b "Helen Zille (St Mary's School 1962 to 1968)". Archived from the original on 14 September 2010.
  9. ^ "SA mayor scoops 'world best' award – Politics | IOL News". IOL.co.za. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  10. ^ "City Mayors: World Mayor 2008 – Results". www.citymayors.com.
  11. ^ "Helen Zille Biography". Archived from the original on 2 August 2009.
  12. ^ "Helen Zille joins the Institute of Race Relations as senior policy fellow". SowetanLIVE & Sunday World. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  13. ^ Boonzaaier, Dawie (18 August 2019). "Zille wil Max takel – en almal kan luister". Netwerk24 (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  14. ^ Cele, S'thembile (4 October 2019). "Various senior leaders approached me: Zille to contest DA chair". City Press. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  15. ^ Schneider, Moira. Zille’s Jewish roots strike a poignant note at book launch, South African Jewish Report, 23 November 2016. Retrieved on 3 October 2019.
  16. ^ Helen Zille: Not Without a Fight, Cape Town 2016, S. 19–20 (ISBN 978-1-77609-042-6).
  17. ^ "Der Berliner Pinselheinrich (Heinrich Zille) – Brandenburg – Datenbank". db-brandenburg.de.
  18. ^ "Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille questioned by an international audience". worldmayor.com. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  19. ^ Bronkhorst, Quinton. "Most expensive schools in South Africa". businesstech.co.za. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Helen Zille on the liberal tradition". 13 November 2009. It is daunting to be speaking to the people who have mentored me politically since the day I joined the Young Progressives forty years ago
  21. ^ "Ekklesia | Tutu commends Christian communicators in justice struggle". old.ekklesia.co.uk. 15 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Who's Who: Mrs Helen Zille". Archived from the original on 2 August 2009.
  23. ^ "Steve Biko: XI – The Verdict". Archived from the original on 23 May 2008.
  24. ^ Bridgland, Fred (18 April 2009). "The Zille to weaken Zuma's grip". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009.
  25. ^ Ekerold, Chrissie (9 May 2011). "Zille has struggle credentials: iLIVE". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Not only ANC fought apartheid Zille". News24. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Redeploying teachers set for revival". Dispatch. 16 October 1997. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009.
  28. ^ "Helen Zille (St Mary's School 1962 to 1968)". Archived from the original on 14 September 2010.
  29. ^ Campbell-Gillies, Victoria, Lindeque, Mia. Major milestones in Helen Zille's career, Johannesburg, EWN, 12 April 2015. Retrieved on 3 October 2019.
  30. ^ "...the best Cape Town mayor in decades... ?". CapeInfo. April 2006. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007.
  31. ^ "Leon says Mbeki behind plan to oust Zille". SABC News. 22 September 2006. Archived from the original on 26 October 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  32. ^ Maclennan, Ben (1 November 2006). "Zille keeps the reins in Cape Town". IOL. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.
  33. ^ "Helen Zille Speaks at the Cape Town World Cup 2010 Logo Launch in Cape Town". capetownmagazine.com. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Zille to meet with Lentegeur community". IOL. 22 June 2007. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.
  35. ^ Ensor, Linda (28 July 2007). "The battle for Metro cops". Business Day. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2008. According to her (Zille), Selebi was presiding over a police force that was steadily losing its ability to deliver on its mandate, and his control should not be extended.
  36. ^ Adriaan, Basson (3 August 2010). "Selebi sentenced to 15 years". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2011. Former police chief Jackie Selebi was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment by Judge Meyer Joffe in the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, who called him an "embarrassment to South Africa and the police".
  37. ^ The role of Municipalities in the delivery of housing., Knysna. Retrieved on 28 July 2019.
  38. ^ Zille, Helen (11 January 2009). "DA: Zille: Extract from a speech by the leader of the Democratic Alliance at Bela Bela in Limpopo (11/09/2009)". Retrieved 26 February 2009.
  39. ^ Zille, Helen. "ANC is pro-poverty not pro-poor".
  40. ^ Majova 2007.
  41. ^ Mbeki and Zille meet on range of issues, Mail & Guardian, 28 August 2007. Retrieved on 28 July 2019.
  42. ^ "'Bland' government ducking the facts — Zille". IOL. 7 July 2007. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.
  43. ^ "Zille: ANC rewards crime". 23 January 2009.
  44. ^ "Zille: Heroin easier to buy than hamburgers". 8 March 2008.
  45. ^ "Conquering fear, commanding hope: the DA's criminal justice plan". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011.
  46. ^ "South Africa: Zille Says Health Bill Will Drive Skills Away". allAfrica. 10 June 2008.
  47. ^ "Let private sector run state hospitals — DA". IOL Online. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.
  48. ^ "National Health Amendment Act 12 of 2013". Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  49. ^ Zille, Helen (13 June 2008). "ANC cultivating a 'compliant judiciary'". Moneyweb.
  50. ^ "Hlophe rocks Zille's faith in judges". Sunday Times. 13 June 2008. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009.
  51. ^ "Will Zuma debate against Zille?". IOL. 20 June 2008. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.
  52. ^ "Zille challenges Zuma to public debate". SABC. 20 June 2008.[permanent dead link]
  53. ^ "Zuma refuses to meet with Zille". SABC. 25 June 2008. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2008.
  54. ^ "Zille reminds Zuma of statement". IOL. 25 June 2008. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006.
  55. ^ "Another apartheid era arrest for Zille". Daily Dispatch. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
  56. ^ "Zille in court". IOL. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  57. ^ "Intelligence sources unhappy with ANC plans". Sunday Times. Retrieved 30 September 2007.[dead link]
  58. ^ "SAfrica drops charges against opposition head Zille". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2007.[permanent dead link]
  59. ^ "Zille leads Jo'burg anti-drugs march". Mail&Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  60. ^ "Zille's 2015 SOPA thin on ways to tackle alcohol abuse". News24. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  61. ^ Carmel Loggenberg (28 September 2015). "SABC News – W Cape authorities concerned about spike in crime rate:Monday 28 September 2015". Sabc.co.za. Archived from the original on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  62. ^ Philani Nombembe. "SUNDAY TIMES – Western Cape awash with cheap tik, creating addicts who drive up crime". Timeslive.co.za. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  63. ^ "Helen Zille to address the UN". iafrica. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  64. ^ "Statements". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  65. ^ "World Mayor 2008 The final shortlist". World Mayor. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  66. ^ "Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, wins the 2008 World Mayor Prize". World Mayor. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  67. ^ "ANC blocks motion praising Zille's world mayor award". Politicsweb. 23 October 2008.
  68. ^ Helen Zille bows out as DA leader | eNCA
  69. ^ DA says Western Cape is theirs, Mail & Guardian, 23 April 2009. Retrieved on 28 July 2019.
  70. ^ Zille set to become Western Cape premier, Mail & Guardian, 27 April 2009. Retrieved on 28 July 2019.
  71. ^ "Zille shifts blame: Premier says aide was not meant to send letter". Archived from the original on 18 May 2009.
  72. ^ "Zille in 'racist' Zuma HIV attack". BBC News. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  73. ^ Anna Majavu. "Zuma an AIDS risk". Archived from the original on 15 May 2009.
  74. ^ "MK veterans threaten Zille".
  75. ^ "MK veterans threaten Zille".
  76. ^ "ANC distances itself from ANCYL comments – Mantashe – POLITICS | Politicsweb". www.politicsweb.co.za.
  77. ^ "Helen Zille answers her critics – NEWS & ANALYSIS | Politicsweb". www.politicsweb.co.za.
  78. ^ Fingers pointed in Cape land row[permanent dead link] Voice of the Cape[dead link]
  79. ^ 'Secret' ANC land deal illegal – Zille[dead link] Cape Argus. 23 May 2009 Archived copy at WebCite (1 February 2010).
  80. ^ Cape land transfer dispute resolved Eyewitness News Archived 13 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  81. ^ Evans, Sarah. "Dalindyebo: No ideology test for DA king". The M&G Online. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  82. ^ Naude, Jason (23 July 2013). "Zille defends decision to embrace abathembu king". DispatchLIVE. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  83. ^ Dodds, Craig (23 July 2013). "Zille defends king's DA membership". Independent Online. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  84. ^ Hartleb, Thomas (1 October 2015). "DA cancels King Dalindyebo's membership". News24. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  85. ^ Buick, Kirstin. Helen Zille re-elected Western Cape premier, News24, 21 May 2014. Retrieved on 28 July 2019.
  86. ^ "Premier candidates announced". Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  87. ^ Head, Tom.Breaking: Alan Winde revealed as the DA’s choice for Western Cape premier, The South African, 19 September 2018. Retrieved on 21 May 2019.
  88. ^ winds of change: MEC Alan Winde is DA W Cape premier candidate. Retrieved on 21 May 2019.
  89. ^ DA holds on to W Cape despite challenges. Retrieved on 21 May 2019.
  90. ^ DA wins Western Cape, though with reduced majority. Retrieved on 21 May 2019.
  91. ^ Mabuza, Ernest (28 July 2019). "Helen Zille joins the Institute of Race Relations". BusinessLIVE. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  92. ^ Mabuza, Ernest (28 July 2019). "Helen Zille joins the Institute of Race Relations as senior policy fellow". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  93. ^ Makinana, Andisiwe (2 October 2019). "Helen Zille defends IRR column calling for Alan Winde to replace Mmusi Maimane". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  94. ^ "UPDATE Helen Zille suspends IRR fellowship following decision to contest for DA Federal Council chairperson position". News24. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  95. ^ "Helen Zille to contest for top job at DA, suspends position at IRR". IOL. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  96. ^ Nkanjeni, Unathi (27 August 2019). "Helen Zille is having tea and y'all are invited: What you need to know about her podcast". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  97. ^ Mlambo, Sihle (1 October 2019). "Helen Zille invites Julius Malema for 'tea', Juju are you coming?". IOL. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  98. ^ Ngcobo, Khanyisile (2 October 2019). "'I think you are lost': Malema responds to Helen Zille's 'tea' invite". IOL. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  99. ^ Mailovich, Claudi (4 October 2019). "BREAKING NEWS: Helen Zille applies for top DA job". BusinessLIVE. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  100. ^ "Zille 'available' to chair DA's Federal Council". eNCA. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  101. ^ Mokone, Thabo (4 October 2019). "Helen Zille to stand for top DA job". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  102. ^ "Helen Zille elected DA Federal chairperson". eNCA. 20 October 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  103. ^ Kaplan, Kenneth (15 June 2008). "In Cape Town, hopes dim as progress lags". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012.
  104. ^ "Shattered Myths: The xenophobic violence in South Africa". Pambazuka News. 3 July 2008. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008.
  105. ^ "A revolution of rising expectations". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.
  106. ^ "PROACTIVE STEPS NEEDED TO QUELL XENOPHOBIA: ZILLE". The Sowetan. 23 May 2008. Archived from the original on 30 May 2008.
  107. ^ a b "Zille targets men who don't use condoms – Cape Argus". IOL.co.za. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  108. ^ Vos, Pierre De (10 November 2011). "Helen Zille, the HIV populist – Constitutionally Speaking". Constitutionallyspeaking.co.za. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  109. ^ "Mark Heywood". Section 27. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  110. ^ Top 3 Helen #Zille Controversies proven as Racist ( 1. HIV, Refugees and Colonialism ), The Edge Search. Retrieved on 28 July 2019.
  111. ^ "Tough lessons for Zille from refugee tweet debacle – Daily Maverick". dailymaverick.co.za. 4 April 2012.
  112. ^ "Zille says sorry for 'refugee' tweet". www.iol.co.za.
  113. ^ "Ramphele and Zille's brief DA marriage over | News | National | M&G". Mg.co.za. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  114. ^ Setumo Stone; Khulekani Magubane (3 February 2014). "Zille, Ramphele provide their reasons for break-up". BDlive. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  115. ^ South African Press Association (5 February 2014). "South Africa: Confusion Over DA-Agang Political Donor". allAfrica.com. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  116. ^ eNCA. "Foreign influence in DA-Agang merger worries ANC". eNCA. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  117. ^ a b c Deklerk, Aphiwe (16 March 2017). "Colonialism wasn't all bad' says Helen Zille". The Herald Live. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  118. ^ a b Sesant, Siyabonga (12 May 2017). "Zille gets served for 'colonialism' tweets". Independent Online. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  119. ^ Cele, S’Thembile (21 May 2017). "Ntuli charge could put Maimane against Selfe". News24. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  120. ^ a b Deklerk, Aphiwe (16 March 2017). "Breaking: Zille faces disciplinary action from DA after controversial tweets". Times LIVE. Archived from the original on 16 March 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  121. ^ "Colonialism tweets lead to disciplinary". BBC News. 2 April 2017.
  122. ^ a b "Helen Zille receives her disciplinary charges". The Citizen. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  123. ^ Cachalia, Ghaleb (30 March 2017). "Ghaleb Cachalia: Let all views be heard". Financial Mail. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  124. ^ Cachalia, Ghaleb (28 March 2017). "Let's give Helen Zille the benefit of the doubt". The Daily Maverick. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  125. ^ "Outrage over Helen Zille's colonialism tweets". aljazeera.com. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  126. ^ a b Tandwa, Lizeka (17 May 2017). "Battle lines drawn between Maimane and Zille". The M&G Online. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  127. ^ Zille, Helen (20 March 2017). "From the Inside: Lessons from Singapore". The Daily Maverick. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  128. ^ Zille, Helen (28 March 2017). "From the Inside: A debate of urgent national importance". dailymaverick.co.za. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  129. ^ Madia, Tshidi; Gallens, Mahlatse (23 March 2017). "Zille's 'dumb tweets' biggest headache for Maimane". News24. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  130. ^ a b Villette, Francesca (3 April 2017). "Suspend Zille over racism charges". Independent Online. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  131. ^ Collins, Farren (8 May 2017). "Now Maimane lays into Zille over Sunday Times article". Business Live. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  132. ^ Pather, Ra'eesa (8 May 2017). "The Zille column Maimane didn't approve, and their deteriorating relationship". The M&G Online. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  133. ^ "Answers wanted from Zille over R1m trip to Asia". www.iol.co.za.
  134. ^ "Maybe Zille was right on more racist laws today than during apartheid". The Citizen. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  135. ^ Madisa, Kgothatso (24 June 2020). "DA leaders distance themselves from Zille's tweet on racist laws". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  136. ^ "Zille's apartheid tweets: Horn to lead investigation, but no time frame given yet". Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  137. ^ a b "James Myburgh: ANC race laws revolution. MUST READ!". BizNews.com. 15 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  138. ^ "Letter: There are more race based laws now than under apartheid". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  139. ^ "'Breach of ethics' claim against Zille".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Cape Town
Succeeded by
Preceded by Premier of the Western Cape
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Succeeded by