DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille says she did not compare land reform to rape, as she continues to come in for criticism for sharing a cartoon about land, rape and race generalisations on Twitter.
“Helen” was trending on Monday after Zille shared a cartoon by the cartoonist “Jerm”, saying it captures the “fallacy and racism behind race generalisations”.
The cartoon depicts a black man dressed in what looks like EFF regalia, who tells a white man to “give back the land you stole”.
In turn, the white man accuses him of raping his wife, which he denies, looking shocked.
“But I didn’t do that,” the first man says.
The second man then replies: “Exactly.”
Defending the post following a barrage of criticism on the social media platform, Zille told News24 that she could not see how anyone could misconstrue the cartoon.
”I did not compare land reform to rape. Nor did the cartoonist,” she said.
“Any sensible South African supports land reform according to fair and due process.”
Zille said the cartoon rather showed two people accusing one another of “terrible crimes on the basis of their race”.
“This is hateful and wrong. That is the point the cartoon is making. And I fully agree that racial generalisations are racist, hateful and wrong. That was the point I was making. How is it possible to misconstrue it, unless people really cannot understand what they are reading? Or [are] just willfully distorting, as usual?”
She did, however, acknowledge the cartoon could be comparing forcible land theft to rape, which would be “quite a different matter”.
Some of Zille’s detractors have slammed her for being “insensitive” amid the surrounding furore.
Speaking to News24 on Monday, former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said Zille’s tweets confirmed his reasons for leaving the party.
“I found it to be very unfortunate, it looks like she is really dedicated to ensure we must miss colonialism and our past. To associate [the] land issue with rape is unfortunate and very insensitive.”
Mashaba claimed the DA he thought was dedicated to non-racialism, did not exist.
“We have to continue as a country to unseat the ANC. I thought the DA was that party, but the DA is on the right of every political party including the FF Plus.”
Mashaba resigned from the party a day after Zille’s election as federal council chairperson, saying her election was a victory for people who diametrically opposed his belief systems.
Former EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu claimed Zille was “denying racism”.
“She knows she is not just speaking as Helen, but she is a leader of the DA. She is insensitive and displays a denialism of racism. When people who hold power and perpetrators of historical racism and violence adopt the position of denial then we will never solve this problem,” he said.
“Denying our pain is simply going to make it endure. It shows you how far we are from a solution and that is a sad thing.”