Zille worked fearlessly to establish non-racial democracy

2017-04-06 06:02

HELEN Zille is a human rights activist who worked fearlessly to establish a non-racial democracy in apartheid South Africa.

She exposed the truth behind the death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko. She was forced to go into hiding from the security police after offering her home as a safe-house for activists during the 1986 State of Emergency. She was arrested and tried for being in a “Group Area” without a permit.

She was an active member of the anti-apartheid Black Sash campaigners against the injustices of institutionalised racial discrimination.

Space obliges me to jump to 2008 when as mayor of Cape Town, out of an international field of 840 candidates she was elected World Mayor. She helped build the non-racial DA into an opposition party that is now challenging the regressive, self-destructing ANC.

As the embodiment of the threat to the race-based politics governing our country, race-baiters of all colours have always jumped onto the long-running bandwagon of character assassins attempting to smear Helen Zille’s long and ongoing fight for a non-racial SA.

Now, on the grounds of a tweet from which they have twisted an interpretation that defiles the original, Zille is falsely accused of defending colonialism.

Zille’s tweet comes against a background of increasingly repetitive racially divisive sloganeering by the ANC and EFF in which key phrases such as “legacy of apartheid, White monopoly capital, colonial land theft” and, increasingly, the blanket “legacy of colonialism” are used to blame Whites for all the ANC’s failings, deliberately fomenting anti-White racism.

A rational reading of Zille’s words in this context explains her reference to colonialism, “For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure and piped water, etc.” This is a plea to stop fixating on the endlessly-acknowledged wrongs of the past and focus instead on the foundation for a better future. That’s positive advice.

The core motivation of the self-serving colonialists was greed. That motivation equally well fits today’s government. No wonder the ANC desperately tries to shift the focus from its corrupt maladministration onto colonialists’ descendants.

Steven van Staden

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