‘Colonialism wasn’t only negative’ – Helen Zille

Former DA leader and current premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, has caused  uproar on social media after tweeting her views on colonialism.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Zille said that people claimed that the legacy of colonialism was only negative, but insisted that there were positive effects as well.

Specifically, the premier said that, thanks to colonialism, South Africa benefited from an independent judiciary, transport infrastructure and other modern social features.

The statements sparked outrage from social media users, who lambasted Zille for ‘defending colonialism’ and implying that native societies would be unable to develop similar or better systems.

Some pointed out that the so-called colonial benefits were not invented or created by the colonists at all, but were invented by other, non-western people.

Zille’s comments also drew a reaction from DA leader Mmusi Maimane who, while not mentioning Zille specifically, opposed to her views, saying that colonialism, like apartheid, was a system of oppression and could never be justified.

Zille later apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the tweet, saying that it came across as her defending colonialism, which was never her intention.

The former DA leader has a troubled past (and present) with tweeting her thoughts on social media.

She has previously landed in hot water over calling South Africans moving to the Western Cape “refugees”, and for suggesting funding for protesting students should be withdrawn.

The premier also sparked outrage when she suggested – again over Twitter – that racially profiling people was okay because it was done for employment opportunities and in the ANC’s own policies.

This was in response to two patrons at a restaurant being described as “2 blacks” on the bill.

Read: Zille compares #FeesMustFall to apartheid, calls it a ‘threat to the future’

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‘Colonialism wasn’t only negative’ – Helen Zille