Zille says Mkhwebane's findings against her unlawful, irrational

Busisiwe Mkhwebane says Zille's tweets about colonialism violated the Executive Members Ethics Code and the Constitution.

FILE: Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille plans to take the Public Protector's finding against her on judicial review.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane says Zille's tweets about colonialism violated the Executive Members Ethics Code and the Constitution.

Last year, Zille tweeted: “For those claiming that the legacy of colonialism was only negative, they should look at various aspects of South Africa’s development, such as the judiciary and other infrastructure.”

But Zille says the finding is unlawful and irrational.

African National Congress (ANC) Western Cape leader Khaya Magaxa laid the complaint against Zille and now Mkhwebane has found her tweets to have been offensive and insensitive.

She says Zille has failed to uphold her oath of office, divided society on racial grounds and failed to act in a manner consistent with the integrity of her office.

Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu said: “The premier has not received the actual report outlining the reasons for the finding, however, the Premier has already indicated to the Public Protector that she will take this report on judicial review and advised her, that in her view, such a finding would be unlawful and irrational.

Mkhwebane has ordered the Speaker of the Western Cape Legislature to take appropriate action against Zille.

Sharna Fernandez says she has not yet received the Public Protector's recommendations and it would be premature for her to comment.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Mkhwebane says the freedom of expression provisions in the Constitution were not created to allow people to make insensitive and offensive comments.

Advocate Mkhwebane says the complaint against Zille referred to the offence people had taken.

“The tweet has brought back a lot of pain and suffering to the victims of apartheid and colonialism in South Africa.”

In the report’s executive summary, Mkhwebane says Section 16 of the Constitution was not created to allow anyone, particularly those in positions of influence, to make offensive or insensitive comments.

She says Zille’s apology for the tweet was recognition of the negative impact it had on the dignity of sections of the population.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)