Zille's memorial lecture turns into land protest
Seven placard wielding supporters of Cape Town civil rights group Reclaim The City disrupted Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's delivery of the Colin Eglin Memorial Lecture when they invaded the posh Cape Town Club in the city centre on Thursday night.
The generally elderly‚ genteel‚ white and well-heeled audience had just given Zille a hearty welcome when protesters entered the room and took up positions in front of Zille‚ obscuring the audience's view.
When the audience of about 100‚ who had paid R320 a head for the three-course meal‚ became rowdy because they could not see Zille‚ she said the protesters had a right to protest.
Zille delivered her full lecture‚ praising the role of liberal trailblazers like Jannie Steytler and Colin Eglin‚ and warning liberals that they had to stay true to their principles. "Our colour is blue‚" she said‚ referring to the Democratic Alliance.
She said the blue of the DA may at times be tempted to turn a little green (by mixing with ANC yellow) or purple (mixing with EFF red) but there comes a point when liberals must return to their principles and ensure that they were still blue.
The scene was reminiscent of the silent protest against Persident Jacob Zuma at the election results centre in Pretoria last year‚ but this time no-one was removed violently and no placards were destroyed‚ as happened at the Zuma protest.
The placards read: "Hey #helenzille‚ tweet this"‚ "Affordable housing now"‚ "End evictions" and "Weg met Zille‚ weg met Zuma (Down with Zille‚ down with Zuma").
The protesters were airing their grievances about the sale of the Tafelberg School site in upmarket Sea Point to private developers instead of using it for low cost housing.
Initially‚ Zille continued with her speech uninterrupted‚ but during question time the protestors shouted down the premier as tensions rose.
Zille received rousing applause from the paying audience and audible jeers from the protesters after her speech.
The Cape Town Club apologised to Eglin's widow‚ Mrs Riley Eglin‚ for the interruptions before all dispersed.