Madonsela wants Zille to ‘withdraw and apologise’ for ‘black privilege’ tweet

Hellen Zille at a Workers' Day celebration on the Midvaal near Meyerton, South Africa on May 1, 2012. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lucky Maibi)

Hellen Zille at a Workers' Day celebration on the Midvaal near Meyerton, South Africa on May 1, 2012. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lucky Maibi)

The former public protector took to Twitter with an explanation of what ‘white privilege’ is and to tell Zille branding black people as ‘looters and political pretenders is wrong’.

Former public protector Professor Thuli Madonsela waded into a Twitter debate after outgoing Western Cape premier Helen Zille offended many on Twitter by tweeting about “black privilege“.

On Thursday morning, Zille responded to a tweet from actor Hlomla Dandala in which he told someone tweeting in support of Zille he didn’t “understand white privilege” by turning the phrase on its head, telling him that he didn’t “understand black privilege”.

According to Zille, “black privilege” is “being able to loot a country and steal hundreds of billions and get re-elected”.

The tweet caused outrage, with many responding by accusing Zille of racism.

“Dear [Helen Zille],” Madonsela responded in her tweet, “white privilege is universal and comes with the premium the world places on whiteness plus accumulated historical advantages. To equate it with black privilege is myopic. To brand blacks as looters and political pretenders is wrong. Please withdraw and apologise”.

READ MORE: Helen Zille defines ‘black privilege’ as ‘being able to loot a country and get reelected’

Madonsela was not the only high profile South African to weigh in on Zille’s words. Investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk urged Zille to reread what she wrote and called it “a terrible tweet”.

“How will the DA’s black constituency feel about being stereotyped like this? A 0,4% increase shouldn’t surprise you, then,” she tweeted.

Investigative journalist Sam Sole also weighed in. “Helen lost it quite some time ago. The real problem with the DA is they don’t have the courage of their conviction. No guts to take on Helen. No guts to take on Patricia. No guts to take on Julius [and] the dirty coalition deals in [Johannesburg and] Tshwane. All were/are out of line,” he tweeted.

Human rights lawyer Richard Spoor replied to Sole’s tweet, saying the DA has a “lack of guts and of principle.”

While most appear to strongly disagree with Zille’s views, she also received some support, including a tweet from what appears to be a black male saying “I completely agree with Helen”.

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