After a fiery speech in her own defence, Zille got a standing ovation from DA colleagues, but acting ANC leader Khaya Magaxa, who brought the motion for the debate, was not mollified.
“Our colonialist madam Zille must resign as premier; she must go now.”
Zille said those who believed the price of colonialism was too high should not drive cars, colonial left-overs used “not only as a means of transport but as the ultimate status symbol”.
People would be appalled, she said, if anyone suggested there was anything positive about zealots who killed millions of people to impose their ideas – yet this was the case with religions introduced by colonialists.
“To be consistent on the principle, if people believe the price was too high to acknowledge any advantage, then they mustn’t visit most places of religious worship.”
Zille defended her tweet as a “simple statement of fact”, which had sparked a critical debate.
“I am glad my tweet brought it to the surface. It is of urgent national importance,” she said.
Earlier, DA members of the provincial legislature Bonginkosi Mnqasela, Daylin Mitchell and education MEC Debbie Schafer defended Zille, who is being investigated by the party. Mnqasela gave a glowing account of Zille’s role in the fight against apartheid, when she sheltered ANC activists Tony Yengeni and Mcebisi Skwatsha.
Magaxa said the roads and infrastructure Zille was praising were built by black slaves.
“Colonialism did not bring anything to the African continent; it took our resources, our dignity, our humanity.”
In the gallery EFF supporters added more spice by forcing the debate to be adjourned amid a shouting match with security personnel.