Former SA Opposition Leader Helen Zille Probed Over Colonialism Tweet

Fredrick Ngugi March 17, 2017
Helen Zille, the former South African main opposition leader and current premier of Western Cape Town. DESTINY Magazine

The former South African opposition leader Helen Zille will be investigated for her latest controversial tweet, claiming that the legacy of colonialism in South Africa was not all negative.

On Wednesday, Zille tweeted the following:


Her remarks immediately set off a firestorm, with the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress, denouncing them as reckless, according to Reuters.

In addition, some members of her own party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), have since called for unspecified disciplinary action to be taken against her, saying that her statement was completely intolerable.


Zille, who is the current prime minister for Western Cape Province, has since apologized, but her party leader, Mmusi Maimane, wants her to be investigated and the necessary disciplinary action taken against her if found guilty.

“Her actions, her statement was completely unacceptable and indefensible,” Maimane said.

Many South Africans have condemned the seasoned politician because they believe her statement is fanning the racial tension in the rainbow nation.

Costly Statements

Zille is not the first White South African leader to make a controversial statement bordering on racial intolerance.

Last year, the DA party canceled the membership of Penny Sparrow, a prominent South African real estate agent, for calling black people “monkeys” in a Facebook outburst over beach-goers littering the beach.

“These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day on public beaches, towns etc. obviously don’t have education whatsoever,” Sparrow wrote.

A South African court later found her guilty of hate speech and ordered her to pay a fine of 150,000 South African rands to the Adelaide and Oliver Tambo Foundation, a South African non-governmental organization dealing with socio-economic issues.

And in January last year, Standard Bank economist Chris Hart was forced to resign, after he tweeted that Black people in South Africa had “a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities.”

In 2015, Justice Mabel Jansen, a high court judge in Pretoria, also caused a stir on social media, after she wrote in a Facebook post that rape is a “pleasurable pass time” in Black culture.

Although she issued an apology insisting that she is not and has never been racist, the controversial post led to her suspension from practice.

Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, racial tension between Black natives and Whites still remains high in South Africa, with both groups accusing the other of intolerance.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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