Cape Town – The DA has disowned Helen Zille’s tweet in which she slammed black students who wrote about their lot at UCT.
Tweeps responded sharply to Zille’s tweet with it being retweeted over 200 times.
A series of tweets by one of the students, Brian Kamanzi, went viral and trended on Twitter when he called Zille out.
Zille appeared to take umbrage at a series of articles published in the Cape Argus, one of Independent Media’s titles, written by students affiliated to the #FeesMustFall movement.
The group of students wrote about the current democratic climate and questioned whether they should vote or not.
Some of Zille’s responses to irate tweeps:
1. @BrianIKamanzi Why stay at UCT if you hate being there so much. Leave your misery behind you.
2. @Jude_Wells If they hate being there they don’t have to stay.
3. @the_raitta every student is funded at least 50% by taxpayers. Put them out of their misery if they hate it so much.
4. @CharmelleCmvg If you hate being at UCT Leave. Save the taxpayers some money.
Slow down Helen, slow down…
Very soon, the tweet by Zille was trending, with hundreds of responses to her initial tweet.
Brian Kamanzi, one of the student contributors from UCT and affiliated to the #RhodesMustFall movement, told the Cape Argus that the tweets formed part of a “coordinated attack” on their movement.
“She has always had an agenda against us.
“Her and her class have been antagonistic towards us from the beginning.
“Her comments are painful.
“She’s weaponising fees, when in fact, we have been talking about this for the better part of a year.
“In truth, black students have been fighting for equal rights and opportunities for so long. She’s politically immature to be making these comments,” Kamanzi said.
In response to queries, Zille said: “You may write whatever you like, I’m sleeping.”
The DA, of whom Zille was a former leader before handing over the baton to Mmusi Maimane, took a different stance.
National spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said: “I’ll have to speak to her about what she meant in her tweets, but the insinuation out there is that she’s saying students who complain about universities should have their funding withdrawn. As a basic principle, we do not believe people should be punished for expressing their unhappiness or protesting. It’s a constitutional right – you’re entitled to do that. And we certainly do not support the withdrawal of funding from students. We need as many young people in university, studying, as possible. And those specifically who qualify for university must be in university, we absolutely do not support the withdrawal of funding.”
Asked whether the students criticising the university in the article published in the Cape Argus wanted to leave the university or not, Kamanzi said they appreciated being at UCT.
– Cape Argus