Tweetgate – EFF accepts Zille apology, will maintain DA coalition in municipalities

By Amogelang Mbatha

(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters accepted an apology by Helen Zille, the former leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, for tweets that appeared to defend colonialism and said it would keep cooperating with the DA in municipal councils.

Julius Malema, leader of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), gestures during a media briefing in Alexandra township near Sandton, South Africa August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

While the EFF, which is the second-largest opposition group, accepted Zille’s apology, it isn’t enough, party spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said on Johannesburg-based state broadcaster SAFM Wednesday.

“We are at the eve of losing any form of cooperation with them because of the manner with which they continue to defend colonization,” he said. “They remain warned.”

EFF leader Julius Malema last week warned it will stop voting with the DA in city councils because of Zille’s comments. That would leave the DA without enough support to hold onto mayoral positions in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Zille’s comments about the allegedly positive aspects of colonialism were criticized as offensive to black people and by the ruling African National Congress and some members of her own party, and threatened to undermine the DA’s campaign to shift away from being viewed as a mostly-white opposition group.

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