Sunday, June 4, 2017

South African politico in trouble for mentioning benefits of colonialism

Otta Helene Maree (née Zille), known as Helen Zille, is an open-minded, liberal, progressive (etc etc) South African politician. She served as leader of the Democratic Alliance, the country's official opposition party, from 2007 to 2015 and as Mayor of Cape Town from 2006 to 2009. She is a member of the Western Cape parliament and Premier of that province. As you can see, Ms Zille is (surprisingly) white.

Back in the bad old days of apartheid, Ms Zille was a "freedom fighter" -- journalist and anti-apartheid activist. Under cover of a job with the Rand Daily Mail, she worked with the Black Sash and other "pro-democracy" (read "terrorist") groups during the 1980s. Now, according to a report from BuzzSouthAfrica, the former champion of black rule faces suspension from party activities on Saturday following tweets in which she said... wait for it... colonialism had some positive results.

Helen Zille, who is white [You already said that. Ed.], tweeted in March that the colonial legacy was not only negative, citing "our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc."

Imagine the shock and horror! Mmusi Maimane, a person of colour who replaced Ms Zille as party leader, said her comments "damaged the party and undermined reconciliation efforts in South Africa." Race relations remain a sensitive topic in South Africa, which held its first all-race elections after the end of white minority rule in 1994. The country has been ruled by the incompetent kleptocracy of the black-only African National Congress ever since.

In a statement worthy of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Mr Maimane said, "We live in a fragile democracy, which means our public representatives must, at all times, be sensitive to the legitimate anger that people still feel about our past and its legacy." Party leaders have therefore decided that Ms Zille should be "suspended from all party-related activities until such time as her disciplinary hearing is concluded."

In reply, Ms Zille tweeted, "I cannot be bullied into resigning or incriminating myself." She also disputed Mr Maimane's comment that she had declined to give the obligatory white liberal apology, saying she had done so publicly.

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