Helen Zille File photo: INLSA

PRETORIA - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's controversial tweets on colonialism violated the code of ethics for her office.

"The premier's actions did not comply with what was expected from a person holding the office of premier of a province," Mkhwebane said on Monday.

She said Zille failed to act in good faith and in the best interest of good governance and her tweet was offensive and insensitive to a section of the South African population.

"It as re-opening a lot of pain and suffering to the victims of the apartheid and colonialism, particularly considering the position of the influence she holds."

Mkhwebane on Monday released a report on several investigations she has conducted.

In March 2017, Zille tweeted that, "For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport, infrastructure, piped water etc."

READ: #HelenZille blasted for colonialism tweets

Mkhwebane's report described Zille's actions as a celebration of the oppression, exploitation, racism and poverty. 

She recommended that the speaker of the provincial government must within 30 working days take appropriate action to hold Zille accountable.

In statement released immediately after Mkhwebane's report, Zille's office said she is likely to take the report on judicial review.

"The premier has already advised the public protector that, in her view, such a finding would be unlawful and irrational," said the statement.

Adding to this was the ANC Western Cape, which welcomed Mkhwebane's report and said it was vindicated by it. 

"ANC in the Western Cape welcomes the Public Protectors report on Zille's colonial tweets. 

"As the head of government in the province, Zille's primary responsibility is to build social cohesion and racial harmony in a province that has known too much blood and pain on racial polarization, and this judgment makes this crucial point quite clear.  

"As the ANC, we are vindicated by the public protector's remedial action, which now forces the Provincial Legislature, according to its constitutional responsibility, to find appropriate measures to discipline Zille."

Zille apologised for her offensive tweet about colonialism shortly after it sparked outrage and landed her in trouble with the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which she used to lead.

African News Agency/ANA