Western Cape Premier Helen Zille apologised on Thursday for suggesting that colonialism had positive spin-offs.
Zille caused a stir on Thursday morning when she tweeted that people who claimed the legacy of colonialism was only negative should think “of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water etc”.
“Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest‚ please‚” she wrote in a second tweet.
But DA leader Mmusi Maimane and party spokesperson Phumzile van Damme differed with Zille’s view.
“Let’s make this clear: Colonialism‚ like Apartheid‚ was a system of oppression and subjugation. It can never be justified‚” tweeted Maimane.
Let's make this clear: Colonialism, like Apartheid, was a system of oppression and subjugation. It can never be justified.
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) March 16, 2017
Van Damme also expressed a similar sentiment.
“Colonialism was a crime against humanity. There isn’t a single aspect of it that can be said to be positive or beneficial to Africans‚” said Van Damme.
Colonialism was a crime against humanity. There isn't a single aspect of it that can be said to be positive or beneficial to Africans.
— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) March 16, 2017
Shortly after the two tweets‚ Zille tweeted an apology. “I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.”
I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 16, 2017
Mbali Ntuli‚ the party’s former youth leader and current MPL at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature‚ was the first prominent DA leader to call Zille out.
“It was ONLY negative!!Colonialism=development argument is trash as those subjugated can attest to (sic)‚” she tweeted in reply to Zille.
“It’s like saying Nazism was good for German democracy and their advancements in technology‚” added Ntuli.
But Zille‚ replying to another twitter user‚ @GrahamDowns‚ she said: “I do not know what positive Hitler produced. He stoked up nationalism and authoritarianism and genocide‚ and destruction.”
Other twitter users‚ like @Lazola–Ndamase‚ said the judicial system Zille was colonial.
“The judicial system is colonial hence it sends blacks to jail & leaves land thieves & apartheid murderers untouched‚” he replied.