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‘Colonialism not all negative’: South African politician under fire for tweets

‘Colonialism not all negative’: South African politician under fire for tweets
A former leader of South Africa’s main opposition party set off a firestorm Thursday after she posted a series of tweets apparently pointing out the benefits of colonialism.

Helen Zille, former head of the Democratic Alliance Party and the current premier of the Western cape tweeted: "For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water."  

READ MORE: ‘Colonization was a crime against humanity’: French presidential favorite Macron sparks firestorm

She followed this message with a tweet saying that the nation’s "specialised healthcare and medication" may have not been possible without "colonial influence".

The tweets were posted in the context of analysing Singapore's economic success.

Zille signed off the thread by telling the Twitteratti she was getting on a plane and will be “cutting off those who think every aspect of colonialism is bad.”

As she anticipated, Zille quickly felt the backlash when social media users, opposition politicians and even her own party colleagues condemned her comments.

Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, who replaced Zille as party chief in 2015, led the way in criticizing his predecessor’s remarks.

The party issued a statement confirming that Zille had been referred to the Federal Legal Commission for investigation.

South African residents also blasted the politician’s opinions as “privileged” and called for action from the Democratic Alliance Party.

Zille has since issued an apology for the tweets, claiming she was not trying to defend colonialism.