By Thato Choma
It’s been a while now and Helen Zille is still being crucified for her “reckless” use of words on national television and the twitter streets. In March this year she referred to Eastern Cape pupils, who’ve moved to the Western Cape for a better education, as refugees. Zille made this statement after visiting a school in the province that had many Eastern Cape pupils. This left the ruling party, ANC, in bad humour and led to a civil twitter war and public disturbance. She has since apologised for the remark.
Of course there are people who think Zille is blameless and accurate in her statement, hence there’s no need to apologise. She even comes to her “tragic, depressing conclusion” that the ANC is as interested in denying people their right to education as Verwoerd was, and people agree with this statement. Other people feel we should just move on. After all, it’s just a word, right?
I have reviewed the story, walked the twitter streets but the one thing I cannot overlook is Zille’s inability to recognise it as a serious matter. She is dissing people and being sarcastic about a matter that concerns people at large. Surely we want a president that shares our concerns. But it is time to lay off Zille and pay attention to the real issue — that is, the education crisis in the country.
One thing SA is very good at is pointing fingers, talking, claiming rights but not being accountable and taking action. I am not saying we must overlook matters that arise. But we must not dwell on things that hamper productivity because actions have the loudest voices in the end. After all mini-sagas will blow over but the real issues will remain.
Choma is a full-time student and co-runs a volunteer association.