Free speech is being shut down in South Africa

Free speech is being shut down in South Africa, by Marian Tupy.

The political firestorm that has engulfed the Premier of Western Cape, Helen Zille, following her tweets in praise of some aspects of the British colonial legacy in Singapore, raise serious questions about the very possibility of reasoned debate in South Africa. It does not augur well for the future of the country. …

Having spent a week on a business trip to Singapore and waiting to board a plane to Cape Town, Zille published a series of tweets:

What might have prompted such thoughts in the mind of a former anti-apartheid activist – a fearless journalist who exposed the extra-judicial killing of the Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko, as well as a politician who has so successfully navigated the treacherous waters of South African politics for the last two decades? …

The tenets of political correctness, unfortunately, dictate that Zille’s comments could not possibly come out of justified despair for the socio-economic performance of South Africa in recent decades. Predictably, the erstwhile opponent of white rule now stands accused of racism.

That the neutered and cowardly South African intelligentsia should reach for such a lazy and dishonest explanation of Zille’s tweets is unsurprising. What is surprising is the speed with which Zille was abandoned by her own party. The leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, has even referred her to the party’s Legal Commission for punishment.

Under pressure, Zille caved in:

PC rules! Badly.

Group discipline to further the interest of the group is far more important to the left than free speech or the truth — which works brilliantly in the short term, but woefully in the long term.

hat-tip Matthew