Molefe Seeletsa

Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

‘Very troubled imagination’: Zille hits back at Nqaba Bhanga over racism claims

The DA federal chair says she has no idea why the former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor made such statements.

Democratic Alliance (DA) federal chairperson Helen Zille has refuted racism claims levelled against her by former Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga.

Bhanga was served with a notice of intention to suspend him from all party activities by the DA’s provincial executive committee pending the outcome of an investigation into claims of bringing the party into disrepute.

In a now deleted Facebook post, Bhanga accused Zille of being racist and working with the African National Congress (ANC) to push him out of the position of provincial leader over the weekend.

“Helen Zille is the most racist; she got a file on black people. Yesterday I learnt how she got information to try and destroy the ANC. I am hurt to know you were working with the ANC against me,” Bhanga posted on social media.

The former DA Eastern Cape leader’s case was subsequently referred to the party’s federal legal commission (FLC) for investigation and was given 48 hours to explain to the party why he should not be suspended.

‘Deep-seated problems’

Speaking to eNCA on Tuesday morning, Zille has denied all allegations against her by Bhanga.

Zille said she had no idea why the former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor made such statements.

“He had some idea that I was in the Eastern Cape on Friday night, speaking to the ANC about him and how he got his very expensive house. I wasn’t anywhere near the Eastern Cape on Friday night… I have not met with any ANC person to discuss Nqaba Bhanga’s house.

“It was a figment of a very troubled imagination and then he spoke [out of turn], but there are deep-seated problems that we have to deal with,” she said.

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She also refrained from commenting on Bhanga’s future due to a conflict of interest.

“I can’t deal with the disciplinary [process]… the province is dealing with it,” the DA federal chair added.

Zille was previously accused of racism after she defended aspects of colonialism’s legacy in 2017.

“For those claiming legacy of colonialism was only negative‚ think of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water,” she tweeted at the time.

She later apologised for her comments.


Bhanga was involved in a car accident in Gqeberha, where two people from another vehicle died.

The incident occurred on his 44th birthday in August 2021.

The former DA Eastern Cape leader had to undergo surgery due to internal bleeding after his Mercedes Benz collided with another vehicle in Algoa Park, which resulted in Nonzwakazi Maho and Sandile Ronald Sicolo losing their lives.

A case of culpable homicide was then opened with the South African Police Service (Saps).

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