Helen Zille has once again come out in defence of certain aspects of colonialism on Twitter, this time while also stating that “the very concept of a state is a legacy of colonialism”.
As loathe as I am to say so, the very concept of a state is a legacy of colonialism. But "favourite" is a complete distortion of what I said. The legacy of colonialism was tragic, but as I said, not ONLY negative. A capable state is essential to running modern democracies.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) April 5, 2019
Zille was slammed in the replies by commentators who patiently explained the concept of states to the premier of the Western Cape.
“The concept of state has been theorised by many philosophers. They all postulate that it was a spontaneous social contract amongst the people themselves, some say to create peace others say to maintain peace. The idea that it was a creation of colonialism is embarrassingly stupid,” said @LukhanyoV.
The concept of state has been theorized by many philosophers. They all postulate that it was a spontaneous social contract amongst the people themselves, some say to create peace others say to maintain peace. The idea that it was a creation of colonialism is embarrassingly stupid
— Lukhanyo Vangqa (@LukhanyoV) April 5, 2019
Zille has been in the crossfire for her opinions on colonialism before. Back in March 2017, the former DA leader tweeted: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”
Despite the scathing response she received on Twitter at the time, Zille continued to justify her view, making further reference to “specialised health care and medication”, which she said would not have been possible without the “colonial influence”.
So great was the uproar that she apologised “unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism”.
Zille was once again in the firing line in January 2018 when she took to Twitter to post about colonialism in response to a tweet about the drought affecting the province.
A picture posted by social media user @JerryTaba at the time showed children carrying buckets of water in wheelbarrows along a dusty road, accompanied by the words: “I really fail to understand why this WC #DayZero is attracting such attention to a point where even Army will come to de rescue.
“We grew up and still living in de #DayZero, when will government nd Army rescue us? #DefeatDayZero.”
It was not long before Zille replied by saying: “It must be a relief that you weren’t burdened by the legacy of a colonial water piping system.”
A Twitter user called “Mr Daddy” (@tsebisom) commented following that exchange: “I’m convinced you’re out to sabotage Maimane’s @MyDA if that’s not the intention it’s certainly the effect.”
That tweet was re-tweeted by a number of users and it was “liked” by DA national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme.