DA poised to rule Cape

Her party has been criticised for failing to make an impact in black communities. But political analysts and polls believe that Helen Zille's DA will win Western Cape in the coming elections.

Her party has been criticised for failing to make an impact in black communities. But political analysts and polls believe that Helen Zille's DA will win Western Cape in the coming elections.

There are even predictions that the party will increase its 12 percent of the vote it notched in 2004 to 16 percent this year.

During an interview with Sowetan, the 58-year-old Cape Town executive mayor said not only would the ANC lose power in Western Cape, but the ruling party "is also vulnerable in Gauteng".

Zille also dismissed suggestions that Cope would eat into opposition parties' support base, including the DA's.

"The break-up of the ANC and the emergence of Cope is not a threat to the DA, it is an opportunity."

A former journalist - she investigated the murder of black consciousness leader Steve Biko by apartheid security police - Zille was also part of the then Democratic Party negotiating team at Codesa.

What spurred her to active politics was a court case she took up on behalf of her children's school, Grove Primary, against the government

After winning the case, Zille rose in the opposition political ranks to become MEC of education in Western Cape in 1999, leader of the opposition in the province in 2001, MP in 2004 and mayor of Cape Town in 2006.

Zille has accused the ANC of being obsessed with race. However, the majority of candidates on her party's parliamentary list are white.

To counter this, the DA is using its black candidates on the election posters alongside Zille. This has been criticised as cheap politicking.

While claiming not to be obsessed with race, Zille is using race to lure black voters, her critics argue.

During the interview, Zille accused the ANC of abusing affirmative action to give jobs to cronies.

Yet just after our interview a Cape Town-based newspaper revealed that an internal forensic investigation was probing nepotism in the DA-led city's disaster management and emergency services departments.

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