Human Rights Commission probes Zille tweets
THE SOUTH African Human Rights Commission has begun its own probe into premier Helen Zille’s controversial “pro-colonialism” tweets after receiving complaints from around the country.
The commission said her tweets may have been in violation of the right to human dignity. SAHRC acting provincial manager Tammy Carter said the commission would notify Zille of the fresh probe next week.
“As the SAHRC, we have elected to deal with the matter as an own initiative complaint in terms of our complaints handling procedures,” Carter said. “The complaint will not be investigated as hate speech, but as a potential violation of human dignity.”
Zille also found herself at odds with her party when she fired off a series of tweets deemed by some to have been in praise of the colonial era.
“For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water, etc,” Zille tweeted.
“Would we have had a transition into specialised healthcare and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please,” a second tweet read.
In her defence, Zille wrote: “Many prominent people have repeatedly made the same point that I did, so why the mass hysteria?”
Notwithstanding mier’s defence and apology, the DA last week announced it had officially charged Zille.
The party, however, stopped short of elaborating what the exact charge or charges were.
Provincial SAHRC commissioner Andre Gaum said Zille would be afforded an opportunity to defend herself.
“After that, we will make a finding. If it is found, for an example, that there was a violation of human dignity, this matter could go as far as the Equality Court,” he said.