The DA has sprung to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s defence after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found she must face the music over her controversial tweet regarding the benefits of colonialism.
THE DA has sprung to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s defence after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that she should face the music over her controversial tweet regarding the benefits of colonialism.

Yesterday the party slammed Mkhwebane’s report on Zille, charging that they would push for her removal from the office of the ­crucial Chapter Nine institution.

Delivering quarterly reports on concluded investigations, Mkhwebane said the Western Cape legislature should hold Zille to account for her tweet, which caused public outrage last year.

Zille had tweeted: “For those claiming colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”

Mkhwebane said she found Zille’s remarks to be in violation of the constitution and the executive members ethics code, adding that she was guilty of misconduct.

“The tweet has brought back a lot of pain and suffering to victims of apartheid and colonialism in South Africa. She celebrated the oppression, exploitation, racism and poverty which are the direct results of the legacy of colonialism,” Mkhwebane said.

“She failed to act in good faith and in the best interest of good governance by making such statements.

“The premier’s action did not comply with what was expected from a person holding the office of the premier of a province. She also failed to act in a manner consistent with the integrity of the office,” she added.

Zille had violated the principles of the constitution and divided society on racial grounds, she said.

“By undermining South Africans with her personal beliefs on colonialism, she failed to uphold her oath of office, which requires the premier to hold office with ­honour and dignity,” she said.

Mkhwebane has now directed Western Cape speaker Sharna Fernandez to table the report before the legislature within 30 days for it to take action against Zille.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela had also found former President Jacob Zuma guilty of violating his oath of office and the executive members ethics code in the Nkandla matter, a decision which intensified calls from opposition parties - including the DA - for him to step down.

Zille said she would to take Mkhwebane’s report on judicial review, describing it as illegal and irrational. “The premier has not yet received the actual report, outlining the reasons for this finding. However, from what has been announced on television, the premier is likely to take this report on judicial review,” her office said.

The DA previously compelled Zille to apologise unconditionally for the controversial tweet, which she eventually did.

DA parliamentary chief whip John Steenhuisen yesterday also blasted Mkhwebane’s report, accusing her of being reliant on irrelevant sections of the constitution when compiling it.

Steenhuisen also said Mkhwebane did not give Zille a copy of the report before presenting it to the public.

“Neither the premier nor the party have been provided with the report, as required in terms of the public protector’s responsibilities.

“The excerpts I have seen of it seem to have been once again a complete overreach by the public protector, relying on sections of the constitution which are not relevant,” Steenhuisen said.

Mkhwebane pointed out in her report that by apologising for the tweet Zille had admitted to her misconduct.