Zille at Prov leg on racism and twitter
Photo by Jason Boud
Zille at Prov leg on racism and twitter Photo by Jason Boud

ANC keeps ‘refugee’ flak coming

Time of article published Mar 23, 2012

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Quinton Mtyala

Political Writer

TWO days after firing off her “refugee” tweet, in reference to Eastern Cape pupils who sought a better education in the Western Cape, the ANC again attacked Premier Helen Zille.

On Tuesday, in response to the previous day’s violent scenes which had taken place in Grabouw ostensibly over the crowded conditions at the town’s only school catering for black pupils, Zille tweeted: “While ECape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools – 22 new, 8 replacement mainly 4 ECape edu refugees. 26 MORE new schools coming.”

This solicited a firestorm of anger from mostly black users of the social networking platform, many asking Zille to define a refugee, while some took her tweet as referring to all black people who left the Eastern Cape to settle in the Western Cape.

“Refugees are ppl who have to escape because their rights are violated. That describes E Cape pupils exactly,” was one of Zille’s responses to her Twitter critics.

On Wednesday, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said Zille’s use of “refugee” to describe an Eastern Cape pupil was racist.

Yesterday it was the turn of ANC leader in the Provincial Legislature Lynne Brown, who said Zille had again inflicted “foot in mouth disease” on Twitter.

“If she does not call a singer a professional black, she builds schools for so-called refugees from the Eastern Cape,” said Brown.

“She (Zille) attacks anybody and anything perceived to be of the ANC. She should try to build and edify people instead of retorting with put-downs and demeaning terms.

“It was only weeks ago that she coined the phrase ‘Better Together’. Since then, we have just seen division, destruction and mayhem.

“The Western Cape needs a premier that knows how to lead and unite,” said Brown.

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