Timeline: Helen Zille, SA's fiercest opposition leader


Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille took the position of party leader in 2007 and announced she would not stand for re-election on Sunday, 15 April 2015.

JOHANNESBURG – DA leader Zille on Sunday announced that she will not be available for re-election at the party&39;s national conference next month.

Zille will, however, complete her term as the premier of Western Cape.

She joined the Democratic Party, as it was then known, in the mid-1990s.

Zille first represented the Democratic Party in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in 1999.

In 2000, the Democratic Party merged with the New National Party to form the DA.

Four years later Zille became a DA MP.

In the 2006 municipal elections, the DA took control of Cape Town with the help of smaller parties.

Zille was elected mayor in the same year and in 2007, she became the party leader.

She was became premier of the Western Cape after the DA won control of the province in the 2009 general elections.

A former journalist with the Rand Daily Mail, Zille was one of the reporters who exposed the truth behind the death of Black Consciousness Movement leader, Steve Biko.

As the anti-apartheid movement grew in the 1980s, she was an active member of the Black Sash Movement and the End Conscription Campaign.

During the Struggle, she and her husband Johann Maree opened their home for political activists.

During her time in office, Zille was both  lauded and heavily criticised.

In 2008, she was awarded the World Mayor of the Year award.

But she provoked an outcry when she referred to Eastern Cape pupils in Cape Town as "refugees".

And she was left red-faced after a failed merger with Mamphela Ramphele&39;s Agang party.

As leader of the opposition, she&39;s challenged the ANC on numerous issues including education, crime, corruption, and judicial independence.

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