Words matter. This case concerns certain tweets made by the appellant, Ms Helen Zille (Ms Zille), about the impact of colonialism on South Africa. The tweets in question were made on 15 March 2017, when Ms Zille was still the Premier of the Western Cape Provincial Government. A complaint about the tweets in question resulted in the respondent (the Public Protector) conducting an investigation and subsequently compiling and submitting a report in terms of which certain remedial action was recommended. Ms Zille’s discontent with the finding that she had breached various prescripts and the consequent remedial action gave rise to the litigation that culminated in this appeal. The principal issue is whether Ms Zille’s tweets violated the Executive Ethics Code (Ethics Code), as contended for by the Public Protector, or whether they enjoyed the protection of free speech enshrined in s 16(1) of the Constitution, as contended for by Ms Zille.