Zille tweets could cost her political career: analysts

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This is according to political analysts who say the Zille has lost credibility.

Zille landed herself in hot water following a series of tweets in which she defended colonialism.

“For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative‚ think of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water‚” Zille said in one tweet.

Her party‚ the Democratic Alliance‚ announced her suspension at the weekend and gave her until Tuesday afternoon to make representations on why she should not be suspended.

With her disciplinary hearing set to start on Friday‚ Zille’s future with the party and in politics hangs in the balance.

“Right now she may lose credibility amongst the majority of black supporters and retain it among some whites who may feel someone is finally standing up for them and those who believe she did not do anything wrong‚” said Professor Somadoda Fikeni.

Fikeni said it will be more “damaging” if Zille survives being sacked from the party as it will strengthen the notion that “whites still call the shots”.

“She may survive until she finishes her premiership‚ but beyond that I doubt her career will bounce back because she’s defended something many people believe she should have not defended‚” Fikeni said.

Ralph Mathekga said Zille has already lost credibility‚ but will still have “fans”.

“I think that Helen’s issue is very divisive and the manner in which she has carried herself since [the tweets] came out does not help the situation.

“She has been very aggressive in pronouncing in the public forum regarding this issue‚ to a point where she comes across as having no respect for the leadership within the party‚” Mathekga said.

He said Zille’s freedom of speech “crusade” regarding those tweets does not help her or her party.

“Whether or not the party dismiss her‚ the situation is already at a crisis management stage. The damage to ‘brand DA’ has already been done‚ said Mathekga. Speaking on Power FM on Wednesday‚ Zille repeated her defence of the controversial comments.

She said she had unreservedly apologised for the tweets and that those who say she is “unrepentant” were her party’s political opponents.

In the interview Zille refused to be drawn into comparing colonialism and the holocaust‚ saying the two were different.

“There is a big difference between genocide and colonialism. The holocaust was a deliberate attempt to murder 11-million people. There is a difference between colonialism and a deliberate genocidal project‚” she said in response to a question posed by the interviewer.

“History is horrific… The big question is what you do with the legacy and how you build a future.

“In my travels around the world‚ I have been amazed with some countries’ capacity‚ despite horrific events in the past‚ to mobilise in the present and build a future and that is what we need to do here.”

Communication and reputation specialist Vincent Magwenya said Zille had used twitter “recklessly”.

“Twitter is a 140 character platform. You can’t tackle complex societal issues such as colonialism [on it]”

He said Zille lacked appreciation of the limitation she had on twitter to get her point across.

She should have instead been “strategic and tactical” in her approach by asking herself “what purpose this debate is going to serve”.

“All that thinking process is important before you choose the platform [to communicate]‚” Magwenya said.

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