'I was a change candidate': Zille defends federal council chair election

The DA's new Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille at a press briefing. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

The DA's new Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille at a press briefing. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

Published Oct 21, 2019


The DA's newly elected federal council chairperson Helen Zille says she represents the change and steadiness the DA needs. 

Zille said she was the change candidate in the DA's federal chairperson leadership race because she had not held a leadership position in the party in three years. 

She was elected at the weekend. 

"I was a change candidate. I have been around for a very long time and I am a chairperson of the federal council. I will always be around to represent the values that the DA stands for," Zille said on The Eusebius McKaiser Show.

"I have not held a position in the last three years. I was the candidate for change. I represent rock steadiness. I know exactly what the DA's values are. I have remained there in whatever role I have been asked to play, I have never walked off in a huff when I have treated in certain ways. I have always said that the values and principals are far more important than any individual," she said. 

Zille said the DA has faced challenges over the year which came to head in the recent national elections when the party lost some of its supporters. She said she had never said she was in retirement and politics offer opportunities for a time to return. 

Zille served as premier of the Western Cape until May this year. 

"I did what I had to do in the background. The leadership of the DA has been steady and now it's time for a change and I represent the change. Sometimes there is a time to come and return."

"Everyone knows the DA has been through a very rough patch and that rough patch has manifested in the loss of support at the polls. The DA is the only party in South Africa that when they face a loss in the polls does some very serious introspection," she said. 

Zille's election has received mixed reactions. Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba cited her return into the party as representing a grouping in the DA which did not share his values. 

Mashaba announced his resignation on Monday. Zille said she was surprised by Mashaba's comments that her election represented something different to the values of the DA. 

"The DA that he signed up for is in our constitution, our values and our vision. I have been committed to those since I was a teenager. I respect Herman Mashaba. For him to say there is something wrong with the values of the DA now that I have returned is incomprehensible. The values have been there and we just need to implement them and we should not get involved in racial nationalism," she said. 

On whether she supported DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Zille said she did. She refused to be pressured to answer on his whether Maimane should leave his position. 

"The federal council chairperson does not give an opinion on who the leadership should be. I said I will stay in my lane and I will stay in my lane. I have great faith in Mmusi as a leader. I will support the leadership of the DA," she said. 

 " There will not be two centres of power." 

Political Bureau

Related Topics:

Helen Zille