Unrepentant of her defense for colonialist legacy, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille maintained that colonialism had its positive sides and not just its negative side as largely believed.
After long criticisms against her tweets on colonialism‚ a defiant Helen Zille refused to back down in the Western Cape legislature on Tuesday. She said to a barrage of criticism from opposition parties on Tuesday that she was glad that her tweets had led to a debate and that she would want the debate to continue.
Zille is facing an internal party process over her colonialism tweets. She bemoaned the reaction to “her statement of fact” but apologized saying: “if anyone genuinely thought I was praising, defending or justifying colonialism….”
During the snap debate in the provincial Parliament, the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) pushed for Zille to step down for her tweets.
But the Democratic Alliance (DA) defended her saying she never justified or praised colonialism or apartheid and Zille stood her ground saying her comments were never in support or praise of Colonialism but that her visit to Singapore and Japan was eye opening.
“It seemed to me that the colonized has overtaken the colonizer on the world stage, and I thought it was worthwhile asking why,” she said.
She said if she were to say that the worldwide legacy of colonialism was causing an average of 3 287 human deaths daily, people would be outraged if anyone suggested the benefits might outweigh the costs.
“I am talking about the motor car. Today in South Africa, this colonial leftover is not only a means of transport, but the ultimate status symbol,” she said.
She also made an example of religion in relation to colonialism.
“To be consistent on the principle, if people believe the price was too high to acknowledge any advantage, then they mustn’t drive a car or visit most houses of religious worship,” she said.
Zille, however, questioned the “political tsunami” over her comments about colonialism, when textbooks in schools also talked about the positive effects of the time.
“If people believe that South Africans may say things that others may not, then the police must draw up schedules of what can be said by whom, and make sure this is in line with the Constitution,” she said.
This was impossible and undesirable, Zille added.
ANC caucus leader Khaya Magaxa questioned Zille’s knowledge of African history saying the notion that colonialism brought civilization to Africa is “a racist fabrication” and she must resign as a result.
“Our colonialist madam Zille must resign as premier of the Western Cape‚ she must go now‚” he said.
Magaxa along with EFF MPL Bernard Joseph also challenged the DA federal executive, which meets this weekend to discuss a report on Zille’s tweets.
Meanwhile, the Western Cape Premier noted that her statements were not meant to cause harm. But that 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”.
“But if there was anyone who genuinely thought that I was defending, praising or justifying colonialism I apologise unreservedly and stress that this was not so,” she concluded saying.