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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SAHRC to investigate Helen Zille’s colonialism tweets


21 April 2017

Cape Town – The South African Human Rights Commission will investigate Western Cape premier Helen Zille’s tweets about colonialism.

“A complaint was received in regards to the violation of a human right. The complaint said the tweet could constitute violation of something in the Bill of Rights,” SA Human Rights Commission spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said on Friday.
The commission had received several complaints about Zille’s tweets, but in many of them there were was no prima facie case of hate speech, he said.

Advocate André Gaum of the SAHRC in the Western Cape told Netwerk24 that they had received five complaints about the tweets.

He said a letter about the complaints would be sent to Zille next week and she would be given the opportunity to state her case.

Brooks could not say when the investigation would be completed.

Returning from a trip to Singapore on March 16, Zille tweeted: "For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc."

A second tweet read: "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."

The DA charged Zille for having brought the party into disrepute, and of damaging the party. A date for her disciplinary hearing still had to be set.

The tweets sparked outrage from senior DA members, including party leader Mmusi Maimane, and the general public.

Zille apologised and said she was not defending or justifying colonialism, but only highlighting that its consequences were not only negative.

Source: News24

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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