Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Thursday the ANC had performed so poorly that all it had left ahead of elections was to divide people along racial lines.
“Their record is bad and the only thing they have left, Madam Speaker, is to divide South Africa on the basis of race,” Zille said in reply to the debate on her lengthy State of the Province Address of 19 February.
“And the more people see through this, the louder they shout. They have no credibility left on this particular issue,” the former leader of the Democratic Alliance said, almost shouting above ANC’s heckling from across the floor.
Zille said the leader of the opposition in the legislature, Khaya Magaxa, had picked on her pride over the high take out rate of books in the province’s “excellent” libraries and had called this an example of the DA’s racism.
In his reply to her address earlier this week, Magaxa said Zille and the DA found this exciting because they were surprised that black people could read and love books.
Zille returned to the subject of libraries and said according to the latest available take out statistics for libraries, in 2013 the take-out rate for library books in the Western Cape was over 20 million per year.
The next closest was Gauteng with nine million but in the Eastern Cape, less than one million books were taken out during that year – around 817 000.
‘You should be ashamed’
“I celebrate the fact that in Khayelitsha people have libraries to go to, and you call that racist,” she said.
During the debate on her speech, Zille was told that she was excited about this because she could not believe that black people could read and loved reading.
“You should be ashamed,” bellowed Zille.
“So as I predicted, when I expressed delight that our libraries are doing so well in Khayelitsha, it means I am racist,” she said.
“It’s heads they win, tails we lose that’s how they work it on this race debate. Our library facility in Khayelitsha reflects the very opposite of racism. It reflects how much we care for the poor.”
Zille added that ANC MPL Cameron Dugmore had asked who built the libraries. She replied they were built with funds from the Carnegie Corporation while she was mayor of Cape Town.
It was so successful that Carnegie funded a second library in Khayelitsha. She said Khayelitsha now has seven libraries and that was why so many books are taken out.