Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion probes Zille tweets

The Star Late Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA SESANT the pre-

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.

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