Helen Zille is closing her account on ‘hate-filled’ Twitter

helen zille twitter

Helen Zille is saying goodbye to Twitter. Well, kind of.

The former mayor of Cape Town, Premier of the Western Cape and leader of the DA announced her plans on Monday, calling into question Twitter’s validity as a conversation platform.

Helen Zille says goodbye to Twitter

After the grotesque treatment of my grand-daughter on Twitter ydy, I am closing this account,” she began a seven-tweet thread.

“I say goodbye to some of my followers, and good riddance to the haters, bots and sock-puppets that constitute such a large percentage of my 1.4-million plus followers.”

She noted that Twitter “has degenerated into a platform for irrationality and mob-lynching“.

Everything that can be distorted and twisted for a hate-filled agenda, is used for the purpose of manufacturing outrage and inflicting maximum damage.

It has degenerated into a space of distortion, de-contextualisation, demonization, de-legitimation and double standards,” she added in a subsequent tweet.

Zille was often called out for her tweets on topics like colonialism, and white privilege.

Instead of democratising debate, it has severely curtailed freedom of speech and discussion,” she continues.

“It emboldens your enemies and silences your friends. It is a space where the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity, as Yeats so aptly put it.”

Zille confirmed that she won’t leave Twitter entirely, and will instead close her current account.

At the time of writing, around six hours after her statements, her account remains accessible to all on Twitter. It’s not clear if Zille will follow through with these threats.

She’s not the last South African politician who has threatened to leave the platform recently either.

South African politicians and Twitter

Finance minister Tito Mboweni called Twitter “abusive” and announced he would be taking a “personal break” from the platform late last year.

That hiatus lasted all but a few weeks.

For other politicians, Twitter continues to be the forefront of their online social campaigns.

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has found that the platform can be fickle, embracing their rise one day, and chastising their reign the next.

Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.