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Zille's tweets - the saga continues

By Aphiwe Deklerk | 2017-06-19 16:20:25.0

Black First Land First president Andile Mngxitama has slammed Western Cape Premier Helen Zille for using state funds to defend her controversial colonialism tweets.

Zille has been dragged to the equality court in Cape Town by the BLF‚ which has also filed a complaint against her with the South African Human Rights Commission.

But it emerged in court on Monday that advocate Karrisha Pillay‚ who appeared on behalf of Zille‚ was briefed by the state attorney.

Pillay also put it on record that she was indeed briefed by the state attorney because the matter was filed against Zille in her capacity as the Premier of the Western Cape.

Zille got into hot water in March this year after she tweeted: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative‚ think of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water etc.”

Her tweets angered a number of people on Twitter and DA leader Mmusi Maimane immediately distanced his party from the tweets and later filed a complaint with the DA’s federal legal commission.

The party’s case against Zille has since been dropped after the Premier publicly apologised at a media conference in Johannesburg last week.

As part of her apology‚ she will no longer participate in any of her party’s political activities‚ except caucus meetings of the DA at the Western Cape legislature.

“BLF has lodged a formal complaint with the Public Protector with regards to the corruption that relates to Helen Zille using state attorneys to defend a matter of racism which‚ when it was committed‚ she was not using her position as a premier‚” said Mngxitama.

He said Zille’s tweets were clearly from her personal account and it was an abuse of taxpayers’ money to use state resources.

“That for us is corruption and we know that already‚ ministers and even the President‚ on numerous times [have been asked] to pay from their own personal resources for matters like this. We believe that this is even worse ...why would we as a people…against racism pay costs for defending racist acts?’ added Mngxitama.

Earlier Judge Elizabeth Baartman postponed the matter to give BLF time to appoint a legal representative to handle their application.

She also asked the BLF to get papers from the SAHRC‚ which has already started its probe on the matter‚ and to decide whether they want to withdraw the matter from the commission and follow the court process.

Baartman said the BLF also needed to propose relief such as paying a fine which will go to a charity.

The matter will be heard again in August.

 

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