DA distances itself from Zille over Twitter row with RMF activist

Brian Kamanzi is one of four students who wrote about their discontent with local government.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has distanced itself from a controversial statement made by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille on social media this week.

A tweet by student activist Brian Kamanzi went viral last night when he slammed Zille for saying that students who hate the University of Cape Town should have their funding withdrawn.

If this woke bunch hate being UCT students so much, pls help them out of their misery and withdraw their funding. pic.twitter.com/MnfdFVWB11

Kamanzi is one of five students affiliated to the Rhodes Must Fall movement who wrote about their discontent with the local government elections, in a contributing article published by the Cape Argus.

In the piece the group makes reference to their experience at the university.

He says Zille's response is disgraceful and malicious.

"We weren't speaking on behalf of all students, we were simply drops in the oceans and so she dismisses that in a climate where she knows the very same people she is talking about are form movements like Rhodes Must Fall, Fees Must Fall etc. Where funding is at the heart of a lot of the conversations."

Zille has defended her remarks on Twitter and says no student should be forced to study at the University of Cape Town if they hate it.

Meanwhile the DA says it does not support the withdrawal of funding and that students should feel free to voice their opinions.

Kamanzi has also reacted to a series of tweets by MP and UCT council member Michael Cardo in which he shares his thoughts on the article.

Kamanzi says: "Cardo is the provincial appointee. He was deployed here and he has published many articles online specifically using defamatory language to refer to students at the university, in particular protesting students. So to me it's clear that is some coordinated effort here to deal with problem people whom they feel maybe are ruining their version of what a liberal university should look like."