The disciplinary committee of the Democratic Alliance (DA) has withdrawn the expulsion of Dianne Kohler Barnard, who caused an uproar when she shared a controversial Facebook post praising apartheid-era president PW Botha on her personal page.
Kohler Barnard had lodged an appeal with the DA’s federal legal commission following a decision taken by the party’s federal executive to expel her from the party.
DA federal executive chair James Selfe referred the Mail & Guardian to the commission’s chairperson, Glynnis Breytenbach, who confirmed the recommendation made.
Kohler Barnard was not immediately available for comment but Breytenbach confirmed the commission’s decision to suspend her expulsion, although she will still have to abide by the other recommendations made: paying a R20 000 fine, giving up all internally elected positions in the party, demotion from the shadow minister of police to deputy shadow minister of public works, attending a social media management course and the placement of five apologies in newspapers at her own cost.
Brought before the party’s federal legal commission in October, Kohler Barnard’s Facebook repost caused an uproar and resulted in her subsequently deleting and apologising for it.
The DA’s federal executive – the party’s highest decision-making body – elected at the time not to adopt the commission’s recommendations, choosing instead to expel her.
Earlier in the day, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the federal legal commission is regarded as independent as the courts and its outcomes cannot be predetermined or interfered with.
“Let them meet and we [as the federal executive] will take it from there,” he said.
Disclaimer: Nelly Shamase took up a position as the DA’s provincial media manager in KwaZulu-Natal after being approached by the party. She resigned last year to return to her first love, journalism, in which she has a decade of experience.