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Helen Zille on her biggest mistake in office and DA losses

Former DA leader Helen Zille.
Former DA leader Helen Zille.

Former DA leader Helen Zille has opened up about the party's performance in the 2019 general elections and her biggest mistakes during her time in office.

In an interview on 702, Zille said "race-based politics" is what caused the DA to lose voters to the ideological right.

Here are four quotes from the interview:

Diversify the DA

"I did exactly the right thing. It was quite correct to diversify the DA. It was absolutely essential to do that, in fact.

"Where I was mistaken was to think that that would enable the DA to rise above the politics of race and focus on politics of principle, and policies that could help South Africa rise above poverty and awful unemployment rates."

This in reference to her time in office and her leadership.

Slippery slope

"What I should have seen was that this was just the beginning of a slippery slope in a culture like South Africa, in which the public analysis is that unless you satisfy the ANC's definition of what is transformation, you will always be a white party, no matter how diverse you are."

Real issues

"I should have set that out clearly and said our goal is not representability, racial hegemony, and our goal is non-racialism, inclusion and diversity so we can start credibly debating the real issues that face South Africa."

Election results

"You simply have to look at the results and where we lost votes. That’s all you have to do. You’ve just got to go look at the statistics and see if that’s true.

"The thing that really shook us was the question of the race-based politics and falling into the ANC/EFF’s race-based narrative that lost us huge numbers of votes to the right."

Zille was referencing what may have led to the party’s marginal loss in support after the May 8 elections.

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