South Africa's public protector calls Western Cape Premier's tweet "unconstitutional" and "disrepectful"

A tweet by about colonialism by a premier in South Africa has been found to be in violation of the constitution by the country's Public Protector.

In 2017, Western Cape Premier Ms. Helen Zille tweeted "For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure etc."

A report released on
Monday by Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, called Zille's conduct unconstitutional, as well as violating the Executive Ethics Code.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane said, "It cannot be said that the Premier's tweet sought to show concern and respect for those who were victims of apartheid and colonialism," adding that despite apologising and calling the tweet "insensitive", the apology could be interpreted as a recognition of the negative impact the tweet had on the dignity of a section of the South African population.

Mkhwebane said the tweet could have been made in the context of Zille's right of freedom to expression, it was still offensive and insensitive to a section of the South African population because of the pain and suffering left on victims of apartheid and colonialism.

"Section 16 of the Constitution was, therefore, not created to allow anyone, particularly those in positions of influence, to make such statements," said Mkhwebane.

The Public Protector issued a recommendation to Western Cape legislator to take appropriate action and hold Zille accountable for her conduct.

But Ms. Zille response to the report called the finding "unlawful and irrational."

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