After taking flak for 12 days about her tweets on colonialism‚ a defiant Helen Zille refused to back down in the Western Cape legislature on Tuesday.
After a fiery speech in her own defence‚ the premier received a standing ovation from DA colleagues. But acting ANC leader Khaya Magaxa‚ who brought the motion for the debate‚ was not mollified.
“Our colonialist madam Zille must resign as premier of the Western Cape‚ she must go now‚” he said.
Zille said those who believed the price of colonialism was too high should not drive cars‚ which were colonial left-overs that were used “not only as a means of transport but the ultimate status symbol”.
People would be appalled‚ she said‚ if anyone suggested there was anything positive about zealots who killed millions of people to impose their ideas — yet this was the case with religions introduced by colonialists.
“To be consistent on the principle‚ if people believe the price was too high to acknowledge any advantage‚ then they mustn’t … visit most houses of religious worship.”
Zille defended her tweet as a “simple statement of fact” and said it had sparked a critical debate. “I am glad my tweet brought it to the surface‚ because it is indeed of urgent national importance‚” she said.
Earlier‚ DA MPLs Bonginkosi Mnqasela‚ Daylin Mitchell and Education MEC Debbie Schafer defended Zille‚ who is being investigated by the party. On Saturday‚ she was interviewed by the head of the DA federal legal commission‚ Glynnis Breytenbach‚ who is leading the probe.
Mnqasela gave a glowing account of Zille’s role in the fight against apartheid‚ when she sheltered ANC activists such as Tony Yengeni and Mcebisi Skwatsha.
Frustrated‚ the ANC repeatedly called speaker Sharna Fernandez to force the DA to debate the tweets about colonialism.
Magaxa said the roads and infrastructure system Zille was praising were built by black slaves. “Colonialism did not bring anything to the African continent‚ instead it took. It took our resources‚ our dignity and our humanity‚” he said.