After a fiery speech in her own defence, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille received a standing ovation from DA colleagues. Picture: Henk Kruger/Independent Media
Cape Town - A defiant Helen Zille refused to back down in the Western Cape Legislature on Tuesday, insisting that some aspects of colonialism, like motor cars, were good for South Africa.

The Western Cape premier was facing questions about her tweets on colonialism in the legislature.

After a fiery speech in her own defence she received a standing ovation from DA colleagues.

But acting ANC leader Khaya Magaxa who brought the motion for the debate was not impressed and renewed calls for Zille to be axed.

“Our colonialist madam Zille must resign as premier of the Western Cape she must go now” he said.

The EFF also said Zille must be fired, while the ACDP called for the premier to be forgiven.

Zille sparked outrage on Twitter two weeks ago when she tweeted: “For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport, infrastructure, piped water etc.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has hauled Zille to the party’s federal legal commission over her comments, and will learn this Sunday whether she will be punished for it.

Zille said on Tuesday that people who believed the price of colonialism was too high should not drive cars or visit places of worship, as these were leftover legacies of colonists in SA.

“I am talking about the motor car. Today in South Africa, this colonial leftover is not only a means of transport, but the ultimate status symbol,” she said.

She defended her tweet as a “simple statement of fact” and said it had sparked a “critical” debate which was of “urgent national importance”.

Her controversial tweets followed a visit to Singapore and Japan, which she said was eye-opening.

“It seemed to me that the colonised has overtaken the coloniser on the world stage and I thought it was worthwhile asking why,” she said.

Zille has denied defending or praising colonialism and again apologised to those offended by her tweets.

Earlier DA MPLs Bonginkosi Mnqasela Daylin Mitchell and Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer defended Zille.

Mnqasela brought up Zille’s Struggle credentials, reminding MPs of when she sheltered ANC activists such as Tony Yengeni and Mcebisi Skwatsha.

Magaxa, who called Zille a “raving racist”, said the roads and infrastructure system Zille was praising were built by black slaves.

“Colonialism did not bring anything to the African continent, instead it took. It took our resources our dignity and our humanity” he said. 

Cape Times