Following Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen answering a question on the Twitter storm which followed Democratic Alliance (DA) federal council chairperson Helen Zille sharing a controversial cartoon by Jeremy ‘Jerm’ Nell, Zille has expressed the view that Steenhuisen “agreed completely” with what she tweeted.
Steenhuisen told EWN he does not “believe in racial generalisations on either side”, adding that he did not want to be the “Twitter police” and that as DA leader, he had bigger concerns.
“Helen is an adult, she must account for her own Twitter account,” he said.
Two interpretations seem to have emerged of Steenhuisen saying: “I don’t think racial generalisations and racial categorisation and racial stereotyping helps anybody and certainly is a distraction from the bigger issues, the economy, jobs, and those sort of crises.”
EWN reported that he distanced himself from the tweet, while Zille appears to believe his comments on racial generalisations indicated he was co-signing her tweet, rather than distancing himself from it.
Asked if the DA has distanced itself from the tweet, she said: “No, they didn’t. John agreed completely with me, and said if you want to speak to me about the tweet, speak to me, not him.”
The confusion appears to come from Zille’s caption when she tweeted a cartoon by Jeremy ‘Jerm’ Nell handling the contentious issues of land and race, and controversially comparing the idea that all white people are land thieves to the idea of wrongly accusing a black man of rape.
“This aptly captures the fallacy and racism behind race generalisations,” was Zille’s caption.
Zille, therefore, believes the cartoon exposes the error of race generalisations, while her critics, many of which reacted to the tweet with outrage, believe it was in fact an example of racial stereotyping.
Questions sent to Steenhuisen in a bid to clarify where he stands on the tweet went unanswered at the time of publication. We will update this article with his comment if and when we receive it.
No they didn't. John agreed completely with me, and said if you want to speak to me about the Tweet, speak to me, not him.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 10, 2020