Leading politician Helen Zille suspended over colonialism tweet

The official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Saturday announced the suspension of its former leader following a Twitter scandal.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane said Western Cape premier Helen Zille refused to apologize to the country for her tweets on colonialism.

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

“Zille’s social media commentary and public utterances in connection with colonialism undermine our reconciliation project. There is no question that Zille’s original tweets and subsequent justifications have damaged our standing in the public mind,” Maimane said.

Zille is a former journalist who exposed the truth behind the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko in the late 1970s. She also worked with the Black Sash and other anti-apartheid groups in the 1980s. The former Mayor of Cape Town was selected as World Mayor of the Year in 2008 from a field of 820 candidates.

Two years ago, DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard was disciplined by the party after she shared a Facebook post saluting apartheid-era President P. W. Botha.

Photo credit: The South African