DA FedCo chairperson and former Western Cape premier Helen Zille. File photo: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA).

The North Gauteng High Court has dismissed Helen Zille’s bid to have Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on her colonialism tweets reviewed and set aside. 

Mkhwebane in June last year found that Zille's tweets in March 2017 about the legacy of colonialism constituted an incitement to violence and were in violation of the Executive Code of Ethics.  

Mkhwebane investigated the matter following a complaint lodged by ANC MPL in the Western Cape Legislature, Khayalethu Elvis Magaxa.

The former Western Cape premier and DA Federal Council chairperson then took the report on review, saying Mkhwebane failed to prove that her tweets constituted an incitement to violence.

The Office of the Public Protector on Tuesday confirmed that, acting Judge Malebo Habedi had dismissed Zille’s application with costs - to be paid up to the point she vacated office as premier. 

Handing down judgment, Habedi found that the application and determination of issues were moot and academic since the Public Protector’s remedial action had directed the provincial legislature to take action against Zille while she was still premier. 

Judge Habedi noted that, at the time the matter was argued in court, it was already obvious that Zille was no longer premier. Having concluded that the matter had been overtaken by events, Judge Habedi still found that Zille failed to establish sufficient grounds for the review and that the Public Protector had properly reasoned her findings and remedial action and that those reasons were sufficient to substantiate the findings.

Mkhwebane welcomed the high court ruling, saying, “I’m pleased with the judgment. I continue to call on Members of the Executive, both at national and provincial levels, to take time and understand the provisions of the EMEA and the Code of Ethics." 

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