As it is, the case against the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, over her colonialism tweets, seems to be lingering longer than supposed and the premier wonders why South Africans want her crucified even if her offence isn’t as grievous as ones spoken in the past by the defiant EFF leader, Julius Malema.
Standing the chance of being evicted from the party she long worked hard for, Zille believes she has been unnecessarily condemned by millions of South Africans who wouldn’t want to look at the reasons behind her comments where she compared South Africa to Singapore – marvelling at how Singapore was able to capitalize on the remnants of colonialism by “taking responsibility”.
Drawing a line between her comments and that of Julius Malema who has on several occasions incited Black South Africans to war against the White citizens in South Africa, Zille is now worried why Malema is always allowed to go scot-free while she isn’t.
“Julius Malema has generously reminded us that the EFF have not yet called for whites to be slaughtered,” said Helen Zille, relating to Malema’s comment about slaughtering the white people.
“There was a ripple of anger about this but nothing like the response to my simple statement of fact.”
Zille has since apologized for her comments and stated she was not trying to defend colonialism in any way. Speaking to the Western Cape legislature, the Premier apologized again but also called out the difference in public response to her and Malema’s comments.
She went on to quote Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela as part of her defence, she also said that she is pleased that her tweets have led to a “necessary” debate on colonialism. The DA’s federal executive are said to be meeting again this weekend to finalise if any action will be taken against Zille.
Give Zille A Chance – Cachalia
Meanwhile, Ghaleb Cachalia, a politician and a leader of the DA caucus in Ekurhuleni has asked for Zille to be given a benefit of the doubt believing similar statements would not repeat itself.
Admitting that both Apartheid and Colonialism have things gin common, the leader said South Africans need to “come to terms with the various contributions to our history, to understand the intended and unintended consequences of systems and individuals who made their mark on society – often in a complex and contradictory way.”
“Let’s not lambast those whose intentions were good but whose communication was less than optimal. Let’s demonstrate some understanding if Helen Zille, whose credentials as a journalist, activist and politician speak volumes, was moved to compare our static growth with Singapore’s stellar achievement” he said.
“Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt if, in doing so, she made reference to the infrastructural and other legacies that enabled and gave a head start to Singapore’s quest for development.”
Instead of punishing Zille, Cachalia called for a scholarly engagement, a searching view of the past – one that is rooted in evidentiary enquiry and not in populist paradigms.
Much has been written about the negative impact of colonialism – how it underdeveloped countries and left them in a parlous position globally. This line of enquiry has been valuable and has explained the structural impediments many postcolonial nations have faced,
“Since the Second World War we have sought to discourage and limit this practice, but still, we live with the legacy of the past. What we should frown upon is the trumpeting of perceived superiority, but this should not involve the denial of aspects which have enabled us to progress” said Cachalia
Helen Zille is intelligent and forthright but should have known better than to use an inadequate and inherently problematic medium for the transmission of serious analysis. The DA’s internal mechanisms are dealing procedurally with these lapses. What we need to do, I believe, is to give her and others a chance to engage responsibly and respectfully on these and other issues of importance to our nation – that’s how we all learn and grow, he concluded saying.