It’s an utterance that will, rather unfortunately, follow Helen Zille around for the rest of her political career. The outgoing Western Cape premier had previously Tweeted her praise for certain aspects of colonialism, and a large portion of social media users have held her in contempt ever since.
Her initial Tweet has perhaps been taken out of context, but it still proved divisive enough to ruffle plenty of feathers. Earlier on Friday, Zille was drawn into yet another debate on the issue and stood her ground – she even found space to throw a little shade at Julius Malema, too.
Helen Zille Tweets on colonialism
She was challenged by a pro-ANC account which accused her of dismissing colonialism’s ills. The former DA leader was in no mood to accept this version of events however, explaining the nuance to her statements:
I didn’t say anything like that. Colonnialism was TERRIBLE. But its LEGACY is not ONLY negative. If you can’t tell the difference between those two statements, I feel sorry for you.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) April 5, 2019
Julius Malema dragged into the debate
She wasn’t finished there, either. Helen Zille refused to back down on the matter and attacked those who could not understand the layers to her argument. The politician then added a little spice to proceedings, saying that Julius Malema has also made similar controversial points about oppressive regimes:
“As loathe as I am to say so, the very concept of a state is a legacy of colonialism. Its legacy was tragic, but as I said, not ONLY negative. A capable state is essential to running modern democracies.”
“Julius Malema [has previously said] things were better under apartheid. It seems no-one was offended by that. I was talking about aspects of colonialism’s legacy which is NOT the same thing.”
“State capture started in the Mandela years” – Helen Zille
It caps an eventful 24 hours for Zille, who also made some bold claims during a speech in Kempton Park. She suggested that state capture began during Nelson Mandela’s time as president, blaming him for encouraging “cadre deployment” and handing out government roles to his close acquaintances. Sjoe, Helen isn’t playing about this week.