Western Cape Premier and former Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille is to appear before the party’s federal legal commission on Saturday for utterances she made on social media related to colonialism in South Africa.
Zille came under fire for her recent tweets in which she asked that if colonialism had not taken place, would there been progressiveness in the country.
“For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water,” she said.
“Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please.”
She later said: “Getting onto an aeroplane now and won’t get onto the wi-fi so that I can cut off those who think EVERY aspect of colonial legacy was bad.”
Later apologising for the post, Zille said her utterances “may have come across as a defence of colonialism”.
“It was not,” she added.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Friday declined to comment on the matter.
“[Saturday] is just the preliminary investigation process,” he said.
Following Zille’s tweets, Maimaine took to the social network, stating: “Let’s make this clear: Colonialism, like apartheid, was a system of oppression and subjugation. It can never be justified.”
Zille, in turn, retweeted Maimane, who took over as leader from her after being elected in 2015.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach, who is responsible for the investigation into Zille’s tweet, said on Friday the party’s federal executive council would make the decision on what is to happen next.
“It’s a difficult investigation to describe,” she said.
“There are not a lot of people to see, purely based on media issues, so there’s a lot of documentation.”
“I am seeing Ms Zille [on Saturday] to get her version and then we will more or less wrap it up.”
Zille is known for her controversial utterances on Twitter.
In 2016, she sparked outrage for her tweet related to racial classification at restaurants. In the tweet, which has now been deleted, she said: “Why is it OK to racially classify ppl for jobs but not to identify ppl at a table by their race?”