Communist Party’s attack on Zille is puerile and defamatory

This is what passes for political debate in South Africa these days:

We cannot tolerate a situation wherein ugly Zille uses money that is supposed to build toilets to buy her own make-up and Botox. You can’t use that money to buy your Botox, that money belongs to service delivery…

The speaker was Buti Manamela, leader of the Young Communist League, at the launch of the SA Communist Party’s “Red October” campaign in Khayelitsha, Cape Town (read the full report in The Times).

How does he get away with this? And why do senior ANC leaders, such as Education Minister Blade Nzimande and ANC deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise, who were present, allow him to spew such vile sexism? Shame on them.

It is OK to attack the DA’s record in service delivery in the Western Cape. But it is not OK in 21st Century South Africa for a male politician to attack a female politican opponent by calling her “ugly” – especially not one who was in the front of the chorus condemning Zille for “sexism” when she appointed an all-male cabinet. And it is not OK to accuse an opponent of stealing public funds to pay for make-up and cosmetic surgery. That is not only puerile, it is also defamatory, and I hope Zille sues Manamela for every penny he has.

Service delivery? I don’t know if Manamela, Nzimande or Modise read The Times, but if they do, they should turn to page 6 of today’s paper, where they’d see a photograph of a child running through a cess pit of untreated sewage in a street in Ezakheni township, at Ladismith in KwaZulu-Natal. Despite residents’ frequent complaints, the municipality has done nothing to prevent sewage spills like these. This is in an ANC municipality in an ANC-controlled province. Calling Helen Zille names won’t make those people’s lives any better.


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