Zille “refugee” tweet under spotlight at SAHRC

A youth activist has complained to the SA Human Rights Commission about Western Cape premier Helen Zille’s “refugee” comment, according to a report on Thursday.

Lukhona Mnguni had asked the SAHRC to “advise” Zille to retract and apologise for her comment on the social networking site Twitter, The Times reported.

Two weeks ago, Zille referred to Eastern Cape pupils who flocked to the Western Cape for a better education as “refugees” in a microblog on Twitter.

She tweeted on March 20: “While ECape education collapsed, WC built 30 schools – 22 new, 8 replacement mainly 4 ECape edu refugees. 26 MORE new schools coming.”

Her statement was in reference to a protest in Grabouw over overcrowding at a local school.

According to the newspaper, Mnguni said the DA leader owed the country an apology for her comments, which undermined the constitutional democracy of the country.

Mnguni wrote in his complaint that Zille’s words “pose a threat of stigmatising people of the Eastern Cape as foreigners in the Western Cape”.

“Even if the statement was made in jest, it fundamentally sets an unwanted national discourse, which undermines the efforts to undo and obliterate legacies of apartheid.”

He said Zille had violated section 21 of the Bill of Rights.

According to The Times, Zille’s chief of staff and MP Geordin Hill-Lewis said he was not aware of the complaint.

“The only human rights scandal is that hundreds of thousands of young South Africans in the Eastern Cape, and in other ANC-run provinces, are being denied their right to a quality basic education,” he was quoted as saying.

“That is the scandal.”

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Zille “refugee” tweet under spotlight at SAHRC