News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday June 20th 2019

Protests as Zille takes Western Cape hot seat

Yugendree Naidoo

The political landscape of the Western Cape changed Wednesday when DA leader Helen Zille was officially sworn in as provincial premier against a backdrop of service delivery protests in Cape Town.

Zille, dressed in an olive green striped slack suit, was sworn in by Cape High Court judge Dennis Davis, after securing 24 votes in the provincial legislature as opposed to the 14 votes polled by outgoing ANC premier Lynne Brown.

The DA trounced the ANC in April elections, gaining 51.2% of the provincial vote as opposed to the 31.57% of the ANC, making the Western Cape the only province in South Africa not in control of the ANC.

But Zille’s swearing in as premier came on the back of week-long service delivery protest in parts of Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s largest township.

The protests have seen residents digging a trench along Landsdowne Road and burning rubbish in the streets and were sparked by a dispute over illegal electricity connections. Reports yesterday indicated further protests in Athlone, another suburb in Cape Town.

Zille has blamed the protests on the ANC, a charge that has been denied.

In the newly-constituted legislature, The DA has 22 seats, the ANC 14, COPE 3, the Independent Democrats 2 and the African Christian Democratic Party 1.

COPE’s charge in the legislature will be led by Allan Boesak. The ANC benches will be led by ANC provincial leader Mcebisi Skwatsha, Lynne Brown and Max Ozinsky.

Zille was greeted to rapturous applause from about 100 supporters in the gallery as she entered the chamber of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature on Wednesday.

Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) were first required to take an oath before nominations for the premier were called for and a secret ballot taken.

DA provincial leader Theunis Botha nominated Zille and Skwatsha nominated outgoing premier Lynne Brown.

The DA’s Shaid Esau and Richard Majola were elected as speaker and deputy speaker respectively.

Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Zille said she would work with the ANC because she believed opposition was “critical”.

But she ruled out any coalition arrangement because she said the ANC were unable to “play nicely”.

She said the DA administration would fill posts with people who were competent to be in their positions and committed her administration to defending institutions that existed to call them to account and curb power abuse. This included the media and the political opposition. — West Cape News

Tags: ANC, brown, DA, westerncape, zille

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