The Democratic Alliance (DA) has sprung to the defense of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who wants Zille to be held accountable for her tweets regarding the benefits of colonialism last year.
This comes after Mkhwebane delivered quarterly reports of concluded investigations to Western Cape Legislature on Monday.
Zille had tweeted that there would not be independent judiciary, transport infrastructure and piped water were it not for colonialism.
Mkhwebane found that Lille’s remarks were in violation of the Constitution and the Executive Members’ ethics code, and that she was also guilty of misconduct. The Public Protector has directed Speaker of the Western Cape Legislature, Sharna Fernandez, to take action against Zille within 30 days.
“Taking into account the negative responses to the premier’s tweet, the statements were not consistent with the integrity of her office and position,” Mkhwebane said in Pretoria.
Speaking to iOL, Michael Mpofu, Zille’s spokesperson, said the premier has not yet received the actual report. “However, from what has been announced on television, the premier is likely to take this report on judicial review. The premier has already advised the public protector that, in her view, such a finding would be unlawful and irrational,” he said.
In her report, Mkhwebane said that the allegation that Zile’s tweets are in violation of the provisions of Section 16 of the Constitution, which deals with freedom of expression. She added that this section was not created to allow anyone, especially those in high positions, to make such statements.
“Taking into account the negative responses to the premier’s tweet, the statements were not consistent with the integrity of her office and position. The negative responses to the tweet imply that divisions of the past are still not healed,” she said.
“Although the tweet could have been made in the context of the premier’s right to freedom of expression as provided in Section 16 of the constitution and in good faith, it was however, offensive and insensitive to a section of the South African population which regarded it as reopening a lot of pain and suffering to the victims of apartheid and colonialism.”