Zodwa Magwaza. Picture Mxolisi Madela

 Cape Town - The ANC in the Western Cape is fuming after Premier Helen Zille apparently made “fat” comments during the sitting of the provincial legislature - effectively calling an ANC MPL obese.

 According to the party, Zille snapped at social development spokeswoman Zodwa Magwaza on Thursday, during a reply to Magwaza’s reference to Zille’s silence on the much-publicised closure of schools - which she called the “elephant in the room”.

Zille shot back, addressing Magwaza directly. Mocking the “elephant phrase” as referring to Magwaza’s lifestyle and weight, she advised Magwaza to take up cycling, saying it would be good for her.

“There is only one elephant in the room,” Zille said, according to ANC members, during her reply to her provincial address.

 When contacted by Weekend Argus, Magwaza did not want to comment. But the party’s provincial secretary, Songezo Mjongile, complained that Zille was not taking the opposition seriously, passing rude remarks rather than responding to the serious question posed by Magwaza.

“Instead she resorted to racist and sexist insults which are completely unbecoming of a premier.”

 Mjongile added that it was not the first time Zille had resorted to insults.

Mjongile was adamant the party would not let the matter rest.

 ANC spokesman Cobus Grobler said such insults had been used previously by the DA in the Western Cape, such as when former provincial DA leader Theuns Botha “likened the leader of the opposition, Lynne Brown (ANC), to a hippopotamus”. “If Zille doesn’t voluntarily retract and apologise… the ANC will demand she be officially censured,” he added.

The premier was not available for comment at the time of going to press last night, but her spokesman Zak Mbele said Zille had merely challenged Magwaza to a cycle race to Devil’s Peak. - Sunday Argus

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