#HelenZille, safe for now, awaits next step over colonialism tweet

By Jason Felix Time of article published Jun 15, 2018

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Cape Town - Premier Helen Zille will, for now, not face an ANC no-confidence motion.

The provincial ANC bosses say they are awaiting steps by the legislature before they take action against Zille, after public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found she had violated the Executive Ethics Code after her controversial tweet on colonialism.

Mkhwebane also directed legislature Speaker Sharna Fernandez to take appropriate action against Zille.

READ: #PublicProtector Mkhwebane’s turn to respond to claims

Khaya Magaxa, acting ANC provincial chairperson, agreed Fernandez should take action. “The defiant Zille’s own legacy in the Western Cape is in ruins because of her continued defending of the indefensible tweets and other pronouncements that brought the province and country into disrepute,” he said.

Last year, Zille tweeted: “For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”

The tweet sparked a massive outcry from several groups, and even DA leader Mmusi Maimane publicly raised his unhappiness with the tweet.

Earlier this week, the DA parliamentary chief whip motivated for an inquiry to test the fitness of Mkhwebane to hold office.

Parliament’s committee on justice and correctional services, however, refused such an inquiry and argued Zille should first respond to the allegations made against her.

“By deflecting attention onto the public protector, the DA and Zille are clearly illiberally not submitting themselves to our constitution and the rule of law. They are not above the law, beyond reproach or untouchable. The public protector’s mandate is a legal duty to investigate ethics complaints,” Magaxa said. He also said the criticism of Mkhwebane was unfair and unwarranted.

“Zille has lost the confidence of her party and keeps embarrassing the people of this province. She is destructive and out of control,” Magaxa said.

E-mails sent to Zille had not been responded to by the time of going to print.

Earlier this week, it was reported Zille was likely to take Mkwebhane’s report on judicial review.

READ MORE: DA bid to remove #PublicProtector Mkhwebane hits a snag

* In a letter that appeared in today's Cape Argus, 15 June 2018, the Premier wrote a letter to the paper which says:

There is an interesting aspect to the Cape Argus’s coverage of the national meltdown that followed my tweets on the legacy of colonialism.

This is the consistent misquoting of what I actually said For the record, this is what I said: “For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water, etc.”

There are two words that are essential to the meaning of this sentence. The one is “legacy” and the other is “ONLY” (written in capitals).

The legacy of a historical event must be distinguished from the event itself. It is basic to any understanding of history to realise that events (good and bad) often have mixed legacies.

The other word - “ONLY” - is equally significant. If the legacy of an event is not ONLY negative, it means most of the legacy was negative.

Quoting people accurately, and in context, is essential to credible journalism.

It is important to ask why the Cape Argus so often fails to apply these standards. Or is it only when quoting me?

* Note from the Cape Argus editor:

It is regrettable that the premier accuses us of bad journalism. The fact of the matter is that she’s grappling with the consequences of her tweet which was deemed offensive. It is disingenuous of her to attempt to deflect from that fact.


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Cape Argus

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