๐Ÿ”’ PREMIUM: BNC#5: Helen Zille exacts revenge on detractors; shares inside story on coalitions; and more (Part 1)

After quietly absorbing verbal abuse from Gayton McKenzie during a torrid first morning at BNC#5, DA Federal Chair Helen Zille had her opportunity to respond during the Nightcap session. In this, Part 1 of that discussion with BizNews founder Alec Hogg, Zille exacts her revenge. Brilliantly. We witness a master of her craft at her very best, displaying trademark courage, superb storytelling skills and political nouse. Zille also shared the back story of what is happening within SA’s newfound political coalitions; and unpacked the DA’s way ahead as the country approaches the watershed 2024 National Elections. Compelling, captivating and enlightening. A must-listen.

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See timestamped topics below:

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 01:24 Helen Zille’s response to Gayton McKenzie’s BNC#5 presentation
  • 05:25 On Gayton McKenzie and Herman Mashaba’s refusal to enter into a coalition with the DA if Zille is involved
  • 09:22 On McKenzie’s constituency
  • 10:35 On who is keeping the ANC in power
  • 17:30 On Herman Mashaba’s politics
  • 20:57 On being the lightning rod
  • 21:27 On SA’s coalition politics and the best and worst-case scenarios for the 2024 National Elections
  • 33:09 Why the DA’s template of successful governance has not been picked up by the majority of South Africans
  • 34:33 The major failing of liberals
  • 35:53 The importance of good governance and examples of the DA getting it right
  • 39:59 Cape Town as a tangible product of the DA’s successful governance
  • 40:43 Whether South Africa is at a tipping point which could potentially see dramatic change in 2024

Excerpts from Alec Hogg’s BNC#5 fireside chat with Helen Zille

Helen Zille on why she didn’t respond to the incendiary remarks made about her by Gayton McKenzie during his BNC#5 presentation

It’s because I let other people have their chance to speak. And I knew I’d have my chance tonight. And B, because I’m used to it. And, C because I have far more supporters than I have detractors. And D, because one is often defined by one’s detractors more than by oneโ€™s supporters in politics. And that’s a good thing. And I’ve been very lucky with my detractors. Because it’s very nice to be defined as the clear alternative to a general in the 26 gang, and it’s very nice to be defined as the clear alternative to PW Botha, who used to always go at me when I was a journalist. You will remember those days. And Jacob Zuma. 

Read more: PREMIUM: BNC#5: SAโ€™s wannabe dictator Gayton McKenzie rants about Zille, illegals, death penalty โ€“ and more

And so I’ve been very lucky with my opponents and my enemies, and it’s been almost a privilege to be defined as the opposite of what they were. I also know that you have to stand up for the truth when it matters. Now, you mentioned Scott Peck. Scott Peck’s first value-based piece of advice is, “Do your best to get to the truth.” Now, it’s very hard to get to the truth. Some people get up and say, “Well, I speak the truth.” You speak the truth as you see it. But there are far fewer people who really work very hard to get to the truth. And no human being can get there, but some can get closer than others through very hard work. And those who do often have a lot of enemies in their time. 

You know, one journalist once looking at my history and my parents and my grandparents who stood up very much against Hitler in Germany and my whole background, said to me, “How come your family always seems to be on the right side of history?” And my answer to her was it’s because you have to be prepared to be very unpopular in the present and to say things that a lot of people don’t want to hear. And I’m prepared to do that. It’s because I spent a lot of time researching โ€“ it’s been good to have been an investigative journalist all those years โ€“ to be guided by a set of values. And I still follow that every day in different forms. And then to say, “Well, this is as close to the truth as I’m going to get here, and I’m going to stand up for it.” 

And in South Africa, that is going to be absolutely critical if we want to save this country. So that is why I do what I do. And I’m amazed that so many people are here tonight and aren’t terrified of this 72-year-old gogo who eats generals of the 26 gang for breakfast. 

Read more: PREMIUM BNC#5: Mashabaโ€™s Q&A where he addressed Coalition politics; McKenzieโ€™s assertions; Ejecting the ANC in 2024 and more

On why she’s the lightning rod

It’s an interesting thing. It’s because I suppose I get put on the front line in these negotiations, and I do draw the line. I know where the line is, and I don’t cross it. And I won’t buckle. I take Thomas Jefferson’s words very seriously. And he said, “On matters of style, go with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.” And I know what a principle is when I see one. 

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