Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has used Human Rights Day commemorations to again take a stand against former party leader Helen Zille.
Speaking at the commemoration of the Sharpeville Massacre on Tuesday, Maimane said colonialism and apartheid stripped South Africans of their dignity.
“Slavery, forced labour, displacement, violent subjugation, racial classification with its humiliating tests, making people think they were inferior because of the colour of their skin, industrialised exploitation — these things are all, and much else besides, the legacy of those systems of repression and exploitation.
He said now, there were some people who believed that this was the price of development and infrastructure.
Zille caused an uproar on social media when she tweeted last week that not every aspect of European colonialism was bad.
“For those claiming legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc,” she wrote.
“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.”
She later apologised and said her tweets were not intended as a defence of colonialism.
However, on Monday she wrote a scathing column where she warned against the DA adopting the ANC policy of “African racial nationalism”.
Oppression has no place in this world
Maimane on Tuesday did not mince his words in again distancing the DA from the Zille’s views.
“Well, if this was the price of development, then I say that this price was too high. Development that is forced upon a country under threat of violence is not human progress.”
He said the party could never condone any aspect of oppression.
Oppression had no place in this world, he continued.
“Here, at home, we will stand up against those who justify majority tyranny or express sympathy for those systems. Just as we stand up against those who are nostalgic for minority rule,” Maimane said.
The DA leader said the party would not be divided.
“We will not be derailed by those who put their own interests before the project. We will not be distracted by sideshows.”