Former Western Cape premier and DA leader Helen Zille. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archive/Armand Hough

Durban - Speaking out about the controversial call by an employee of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) for national leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane, to go, former party leader, Helen Zille, says she has nothing to do with the call. 

She also says her employer which she joined as a senior policy fellow, writer and analyst in July this year, has nothing to do with the call as it was an opinion expressed in the online publication of the IRR called the Daily Friend, The opinion was written by Hermann Pretorius an analyst and writer at the same institution.

Responding to Independent Media on Thursday, Zille stressed that she “had no idea that this column was being written until it had appeared". She added that the IRR had no discussion about the matter of Maimane and the controversies surrounding him. 

“It is important for you to know that I had no idea that this column was being written until it had appeared. It is not the IRR's opinion. The IRR has not had a discussion on this matter as far as I am aware,” Zille said. 

On the matter of the opinion piece being placed on a news and opinion platform owned by the IRR, she said that was because the IRR is an organisation that believes in free speech, hence it placed it.

“I have nothing to do with the Daily Friend, and certainly not with its editorial policy. As Hermann said: It is his opinion, and his opinion alone. So the perception of my involvement is entirely wrong,” the former Premier of the Western Cape said. 

After the piece drew ire, Zille said she made it clear that she did not agree with the thrust of the argument advanced by Pretorius and the way it could be misinterpreted on the issue of race. 

Asked whether the ongoing controversies affecting Maimane and the DA, is as a result of information leaked from within the DA, Zille said she had no idea but it came from someone with inside knowledge. 

“Regarding the 'controversies' involving Mmusi, I have absolutely no idea where they may have come from. But it is clearly from someone with a lot of inside knowledge. There are many people who fall into that category in the DA. Thank you and kind regards.”

In concluding the online piece, Pretorius wrote: “The seed of the DA’s recovery has been planted by a white man in the Western Cape. If the party has any bottle, any mettle, any fight left at all, it will see in the leadership of Alan Winde its future as the real party for all South Africans."