Finance Minister Tito Mboweni handed out some advice to the outgoing premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille on Saturday.
“My sister, please don’t tweet today. You are in a wrong psychological space. Take it easy today. Ok. Uzaba strongo (you will be strong),” read Mboweni’s tweet.
News24 reported on Friday that, as part of a discussion on Twitter “white privilege”, Zille posted appeared to equate looting and stealing of “hundreds of billions” and getting re-elected as black privilege. This created a big reaction on the social media platform.
Zille was tweeting in response to a viral video of an American poet on the topic of “white privilege”.
During the ongoing twitter debate a user tweeted about colonial influence and where one should draw the line.
Suits are associated with colonial influence no? How about all the other privileged colonial stuff we take for granted, the car, the suit, the cell phone, iPad, bank account, internet, mansion in the burbs, where would you like to draw the line?
To this, another twitter user responded: “You clearly don’t understand white privilege. We had plenty technology here that was eroded/annihilated by colonialism. You did us zero favours by colonising us.”
Zille then weighed in with this: “Well, you clearly don’t understand black privilege. It is being able to loot a country and steal hundreds of billions and get re-elected. If ppl want permanent poverty for the masses they are going about it the right way. #BlackPrivilege.”
She subsequently replied to another tweet, asking what was racist about her statement: “What is racist about an obviously factual verifiable statement.”
News24 further reported that Zille seems to be standing by her view about “black privilege” despite a responding tweet by former public protector Thuli Madonsela advising Zille to apologise.
Madonsela had tweeted: “Dear @helenzille white privilege is universal and comes with the premium the world places on whiteness plus accumulated historical advantages. To equate it with black privilege is myopic. To brand blacks as looters and political pretenders is wrong. Please withdraw and apologize.”
Zille responded to Madonsela: “Dear@ThuliMadonsela The era to which you refer, has ended. 2day ‘whiteness’ is a swear-word used to stigmatise and marginalise. I thought our struggle was to judge each INDIVIDUAL on their merits irrespective of race. I will not replace one form of racism with another. Sorry.”
Some of Zille’s most recent tweets on the issue include her saying: “Well, how about a government that stops corruption and creates a context for job creation? Or does #BlackPrivilege mean you can continue to blame someone else forever?”
And in another responding tweet she said: “There are many individuals, be they black or white, who have my love and respect. This has always been genuine always will be. But whole CATEGORIES of people based on race? Never.“
@helenzille. My sister, please don’t tweet today. You are in a wrong psychological space. Take it easy today. Ok. Uzaba strongo.
— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) May 18, 2019