Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape legislature closed ranks on Thursday to shut down a motion of no confidence in Premier Helen Zille.
African National Congress MPLs tried their best to convince the provincial House that Zille should be removed following tweets she posted seemingly "praising" aspects of colonialism in March.
ANC MPL Cameron Dugmore led the attack in an animated debate, and tried to highlight the province's "failed record" under Zille's leadership to reverse apartheid spatial planning.
"The very deeply held views of the party have become clear to see. Instead, we have a patriarchal and racist mindset," Dugmore said of Zille's tweets and record.
The DA under Zille had trampled on the poor in the region, and the party was a "classic case of conservatism hiding behind the fig leaf of liberalism," he said.
Zille had become the "bulwark" against racial transformation, saying her party showed it was firmly against generating low-cost housing in good suburban areas.
"It is this toxic environment that Zille had fuelled and encouraged [with her tweets]," he claimed.
DA MPLs constantly heckled Dugmore as he spoke.
'Home of colonialism'
Cape Town had become the "home of colonialism" in South Africa, and the party's policies were entrenching the colonial legacy, Dugmore continued.
He called on the DA to give Zille a deadline to "resign quietly".
"We cannot work with someone who doesn't have the confidence of her own party.
"We need a premier who feels the cry of the majority and has the will to confront privilege and the lack of transformation boldly."
DA MPLs though defended Zille's record as premier over the past eight years.
Acting DA Western Cape leader and MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela said that, in the ANC, they were no longer dealing with a political party but "a circus".
"The ANC has been driving this racial agenda and trying to divide South Africa along racial lines."
Motion of 'full confidence'
He said the ANC existed in name only in the province and was "destined for the grave".
They were only entertaining the debate because they believed in open debates in a constitutional democracy, he said.
DA provincial chief whip Mark Wiley called Dugmore a "blind and bitter white man" trying to resurrect his career with his speech.
He said the provincial House should rather amend the motion to say it had full confidence in Zille, as the current motion was trivialising the issue and was "a racist attack" on Zille.
DA MPL Beverley Schafer listed various achievements in the province since 2009 under Zille's leadership, including the "lowest unemployment rate in the country".
Western Cape voters showed they had no confidence in the ANC, and the party would ask its supporters to vote them into the Union Buildings in 2019.
Zille's tweet legacy 'will remain'
Zille did not participate in the debate, but was very vocal from her bench.
Economic Freedom Fighters MPL Bernard Joseph said they were not surprised by Zille's tweet.
He thanked Zille for bringing the party's true identity to the fore, that whites who had "stolen land" felt superior for "winning twice".
"They kept the stolen wealth, and then got to keep all their rights with the new Constitution. Why should they not feel superior after the ANC protected their ill-gotten wealth?"
ANC MPL Richard Dyantyi said no one could deny Zille's record in resisting apartheid.
The difference between her and the ANC was that she considered 1994 the end of racism, yet could not see a problem with "white supremacy" continuing after apartheid.
Dyantyi said no amount of amendments could wipe away the legacy of Zille's tweets. No matter how the DA voted, that legacy would remain.
At the end of the debate, Wiley's amendment of "full confidence" was agreed to and passed by the DA caucus, all of whom stood and applauded after it was accepted.