Helen Zille, leader of the South African Democratic Alliance, charged that sexism and misogyny were part of the society because of examples set by the nation’s leader, including President Jacob Zuma. She cited a recent study which revealed that 27% of youth believe “they could prevent HIV infection if they bathed after sex.” She referred to Zuma’s claim a few years ago that he could not have obtained HIV after sex with a woman who supposedly was infected, because he took a shower after the sex. Zille refused to back down from charging Zuma with behavior that has poisoned the minds of children and created a sense of sexism. The statistic, noted Zille, “explains why a leader’s personal conduct should be subject to scrutiny if it has public consequences.”
Zille has been sharply criticized for only appointing white males to key government positions in the West Cape where she is premier. She dismissed the charges on grounds selecting the best candidates was the most important criteria. Ms. Zille is not a sexist, but her decision to only appoint white males is not the most strategic for someone who is shouting about sexism in society.