The Public Protector got it all wrong, says Helen Zille

Zille maintained that there was no conflict of interest between her role as premier and the fact that she supported her son in order to run free matric preparation workshops in disadvantaged schools.

“Insofar as there may have been a perception of a conflict of interest, I fulfilled the requirements of the law in mitigating it,” she said.

“I wish to stress that if I faced the same situation today, as I did then, in 2014, I would do exactly the same because it was the right thing to do. The director-general of the province, Advocate Brent Gerber, would also do the same thing again, because it was entirely lawful, constitutional, and appropriate in the circumstances,” she added.

Zille clarified that her son had given the free matric revision programmes for the short October school holidays ahead of the final examinations, and that had he not received the tablets required, he would have had to cancel the workshops.

“I thought it would be a pity if they did not go ahead, particularly for the learners. I mentioned this to the director-general of the province at my normal weekly meeting where I raise a range of public queries I have received. The DG reminded me that the Western Cape education department had acquired tablets precisely for this kind of usage, in a Cabinet mandated programme, and that they were due to be delivered at the beginning of the fourth term,” Zille said.

“I asked whether they were potentially available for use during the holidays for the free matric mathematics revision, which would be in everyone’s interests, especially the learners. On enquiring, the DG established that 150 had already arrived and would be available through the Western Cape Education Department,” she added.

Zille said her son had contacted the department himself and had arranged to borrow the tablets for the workshops.

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