STALLED: Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA.
Cape Town - The implementation of remedial action of the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into Premier Helen Zille’s controversial colonialism tweet, has been stalled for now.

Zille secured an interdict against the Public Protector and Speaker of the provincial legislature from implementing it.

On Twitter she posted: “The High Court has interdicted the implementation of “remedial action” of the Public Protector’s Report on my tweet that the legacy of colonialism was not ONLY negative. This means the review application has to be decided before any further action can happen.”

In her finding, Mkhwebane found that the controversial tweet about “colonialism not being only negative” had violated the Executive Members Ethics Code and was inconsistent with the high office held by Zille.

Mkhwebane has directed the Speaker of the Western Cape Legislature, Sharna Fernandez, to take action against Zille within 30 days.

Mkhwebane found that Zille’s tweet constituted an imminent threat of violence, and thereby violated Section 16 (2) (b) of the constitution. The section states that freedom of expression is protected in South Africa, unless it includes propaganda for war, threat of violence, or inciting hatred for a group of people that would provoke harm.

In 2017, while on an international trip to Singapore, Zille tweeted: “What a revelation Singapore has been. I can see why it prospers. Ppl understand the past but work in the present and plan for the future.”

In a follow-up tweet, Zille said: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.” Zille later acknowledged that her views on colonialism had caused offence to many in South Africa.

The DA leadership forced her to apologise after the party determined that she had breached its social media rules.

She was also suspended from party activities.

In court papers, filed earlier this month, Zille said: “The evidence is that my tweets provoked a robust, passionate and healthy debate about the legacy of colonialism in South Africa.

“Simply put, there is no evidence that my tweets provoked violence or the threat of violence. They provoked emotive debate. That is not unlawful. On the contrary, it lies at the heart of the right to freedom of expression.”

No date has been set for a court hearing.


[email protected]

Cape Argus