Embattled Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has come under fire from opposition parties for “depriving communities of service delivery” after she cancelled her appearance on Heart 104.5FM’s Premier and Mayor Show with Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
DA sources this week said relations between the pair had been frosty for some time, and Zille’s cancellation of her appearance on the radio show was more evidence of this.
The two also haven’t had their weekly Monday morning breakfast appointments at Zille’s official residence at Leeuwenhof.
Despite Zille citing funding as her reason to end her appearance, De Lille has indicated that she will continue with her appearance on the show.
The ACDP said Zille’s move meant that ordinary citizens would not have “direct access” to the Office of the Premier.
The Premier and Mayor Show, which takes place on the last Monday of the month, provides an opportunity for residents to direct questions to Zille and De Lille on issues of service delivery.
The ANC slammed Zille, accusing her of using financial prudence as an excuse. The party’s provincial secretary, Faiez Jacobs, said his party rejected Zille’s reasons.
“It’s not the finances that led to this. We know Zille is using funds as a scapegoat.
“We know Zille does not see eye-to-eye with Patricia and that is the reason she doesn’t want to take part in that show.
“Zille has an ego and does not want to work as a collective,” said Jacobs.
He added that De Lille had committed herself to drive service delivery and accountability – something Zille was against.
ACDP provincial leader Ferlon Christians said they were saddened by the premier’s move to withdraw from the show.
“Now this means the Office of the Premier will not be represented.
“I would think before someone thinks of the finances, they would think of the success. How is the man on the street going to have access to such an important office?” he asked.
EFF provincial leader Joseph Bernard said: “I think it’s an embarrassment for the premier to participate further on that show, and also noting the concerns between herself and the mayor in terms of their relationship that has gone sour.
“The mayor is trying to focus on those poverty-stricken areas. It is quite obvious that the premier is not concerned about areas like Nyanga and Manenberg, where there is a high volume of crime.”
But Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu denied that Zille had pulled out of the show due to the breakdown of her relationship with De Lille, saying the premier remained committed to responsive and accountable government.
“We have entered a new financial year as of the beginning of this month. Funds are allocated to reach citizens based on objectives, which are reviewed annually at this time within the prescribed available budget for the new financial year.”
De Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson would not be drawn on Zille’s reasons for withdrawing from the show, saying the premier’s office should be approached, as “we cannot speak on their behalf”.
“The premier’s office have the prerogative to manage their communications budget as they see fit. The city will be continuing with the show as most of the queries are directed at the city.”
The move by Zille comes as calls for her axing from the DA are mounting following her controversial tweet about colonialism.
- Cape Times/Independent Online
PHOTO: Opposition parties in the Western Cape have slammed Premier Helen Zille for cancelling her appearance on Heart 104.5FM’s Mayor and Premier Show with Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. File picture: Ross Jansen/Independent Media