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23 Dec 2015 23:15
Dianne Kohler Barnard.
The conclusion reached by the Democratic
Alliance’s disciplinary arm in allowing Dianne Kohler Barnard to continue as a
member of parliament (MP) has caused some dissent amongst the party’s top-most
decision makers who indicate that the matter is far from over.
Yesterday the party’s federal legal
commission overturned Kohler Barnard’s axing – a determination which was made
by the DA’s federal executive (Fedex) a couple of months ago after she
embarrassed the party by sharing a post praising apartheid-era President PW
Botha on Facebook.
So whilst Kohler Barnard will be allowed to
serve out her current term as MP, a statement by commission chair Glynnis
Breytenbach says she will be expected to resign from all internally elected DA
positions, pay a R20 000 fine and attend a social media course.
Fedex members spoke to the Mail & Guardian on condition of
anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. They said they were emailed
last night where they were told that the issue was finalised and they would not
be given final say.
One member said his understanding was that they would be
given the opportunity to review the commission’s decision as per the party’s
constitution but a legal opinion sent to them via email vetoed that.
Another said he felt that Fedex’s authority
was being undermined “because [the commission’s] actions show you that they are
trying to take power away from the leadership.”
One questioned why the
commission released a statement to the media before informing Fedex of the
appeal’s outcome, while another warned: “This thing is causing divisions and the
danger is that there’s going to be a fight in January when Fedex next meets.”
The M&G understands that warring
emails have been scurrying back-and-forth since last night over these
developments and some members have been venting to each other over the phone.
DA Federal executive chair James Selfe said
he took legal advice which saw fit to uphold the commission’s decision and
therefore Fedex “no longer had a function” in the proceedings.
Nelly is a regular contributor to the Mail & Guardian. Read more from Nelly Shamase
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