DA leader‚ Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday distanced the party from the views of his predecessor Helen Zille on colonialism.
“I stand here today and say those are not the views of the Democratic Alliance…” Maimane said.
“Our vision and our project has always been to say that out of the ashes of apartheid‚ a free South Africa will come forth‚ a non-racial society‚” he added.
He was speaking at the Sharpville Memorial Site following a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 69 people who were killed by police on March 21 1960 following a protest against apartheid pass laws.
Zille caused a stir on Thursday when she tweeted that people who claimed the legacy of colonialism was only negative should think “of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water etc”.
Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest‚ please‚” she wrote in a second tweet.
Maimane said his party has never glorified any system which supported colonialism.
He claimed the DA would deal with issues which contradicted the party’s views in the strongest personal manner.
An ANN7 reporter questioned whether Zille would not get away with a mere slap on the wrist but Maimane refused to answer the question‚ adding that the station had already drawn its own conclusion on the matter.
“So I think any question on the matter becomes unfair because you are trying to draw a particular image‚” he replied.
Meanwhile‚ the streets of Sharpeville were filled with crowds dressed in different political party regalia.
The parties took turns laying wreaths and flowers at the memorial site.