New DA Federal Council leader Helen Zille speaks at a press briefing following her election. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille has refuted suggestions that her come back will further divided the party due to her strong conservative views which were not shared by other leaders including party leader Mmusi Maimane.

Zille has been advocating for the DA to return to its liberal values and do away with race-based redress policies which found expression under Maimane.

Her election at the weekend saw Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba announcing resignation from both his mayorship and the party, saying he could no longer associate with it.

Zille however told Independent Media that, despite Mashaba’s resignation, her return would not further divide the DA.

She said would ensure this does not happen “by ensuring that everyone has a chance to air their views in free and fair debate, and by facilitating the party reaching a democratic conclusion to these challenging and crucial issues for SA’s future”.

She said Mashaba’s departure did not signal the possible collapse of DA-led coalitions throughout the country.

“Coalitions are very difficult to manage at the best of times.  If they collapse it won’t be because of Mr Mashaba,”she said.

On Monday, Mashaba said Zille’s election to the top DA post represented a victory for those who believed race was irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa.

“I cannot reconcile myself with people who do not see that SA is more unequal today than it was in 1994,” Mashaba said.

On Tuesday, Zille took to social media with screen grabs where Mashaba previously hailed her on Twitter.

In one tweet from March this year Mashaba says, “In all the years I have known Helen Zille, including reading extensively about her beautiful life, anyone calling her a racist is actually racist herself/himself. Helen is one of those SA I hold with the high esteem. I am proud of her as my fellow SA. Period.”

Zille said she did not know how Mashaba suddenly changed and viewed her as a racist.

Political Bureau