Western Cape Premier Helen Zille File picture: Daily Voice
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille File picture: Daily Voice

#HelenZille 'was not justifying colonialism'

By Tshego Lepule, Andrea Chothia And Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 16, 2017

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Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Helen Zille came under fire after tweeting that not all aspects of colonialism were bad.

For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.

— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017

Zille's spokesperson Michael Mpofu has now explained what the premier's tweets were referring to.

"The premier has unreservedly apologised for a tweet that may have come across as a defense of colonialism. The Premier was referring to how the Singaporean people have overcome the past to build a successful economy. We wish to be clear that the Premier was not justifying colonialism", he said.

Earlier the ANC and the EFF called on the DA to recall the premier following her controversial tweets. The EFF, in a series of tweets, rejected Zille’s apology, calling her remarks unconstitutional and anti-black.

“We call on the DA to remove Zille from premiership following these comments,” said the party.

“She has proven that she cannot be entrusted with public office in defence of our constitution. Her apology is meaningless, in essence the comments of colonialism represent her true views and the company she keeps. The DA must demonstrate its commitment to anti-racism by taking hard action and remove Zille from office.”

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The ANC in the province also issued a statement urging the DA to recall Zille. The party described Zille’s tweets as ‘reckless and ignorant claims’.

“Helen Zille has continued to defend every racist that has captured the countries and we call on the DA to act decisively, particularly Mmusi Maimane, who up to this far has not shown an appetite to take on the white establishment,” read the statement.

The party’s provincial secretary, Faiez Jacobs says they will also instruct their members in the provincial legislature to put out a call for a vote of no confidence against Zille for her statements.

“We call upon DA members of the legislator to vote with us to remove her since she has insulted the majority of the electorate,” he says.

The DA’s National spokesperson, Phumzile van Damme says Maimane has referred Zille to the party’s Federal Legal Commission for investigation

Van Damme says the posts may have violated the party’s social media policy.

“Colonialism, like Apartheid, was wrong. It oppressed millions of people and violated human rights in a cruel and inhumane way,” she said.

Party leader Maimane also posted a tweet speaking out against the defence of colonialism.

“Let’s make this clear: Colonialism like Apartheid, was a system of oppression and subjugation. I can never be justified,” he tweeted.

Maimane explained that the tweets may have violated the DA's social media policy for public representatives and therefore, had to be referred to the DA's disciplinary committee.

Maimane said: "We received a number of complaints and I find [Zille's tweet] indefensible."

Political Bureau, African News Agency and IOL

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