DA suspends Zille from party activity – but she’s still premier

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille will be served a notice of suspension from the Democratic Alliance (DA) for tweets she posted on colonialism.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane made the announcement on Saturday following a meeting of the party’s Federal Executive, saying: “This has not been an easy decision”.

Although Zille has been suspended from all party activities, she remains premier of the Western Cape. The party has not suspended her from her position.

The matter has been before the DA’s Federal Legal Commission for more than two months. The reason the party took long to take action against Zille, Maimane said, is because the party had attempted to settle the issue using other avenues.

This included asking Zille to apologise for her Twitter comments, which she refused to do.

“As the Leader of the party, it is up to me to rebuild public trust. In this regard, I asked Ms Zille to tender an unreserved apology to both South Africa and the DA for the damage she has done. Unfortunately, she declined,” Maimane said.

Zille made comments on her Twitter account in March saying colonialism is not “only negative” following a trip to Singapore. The post drew public outrage and a complaint was laid with the South African Human Rights Commission.

The party began investigating and said that Zille had violated its social media policy. Maimane has personally distanced himself from the tweets and said that Zille’s comments have pushed the party into ill-repute among South Africans.

The decision to suspend Zille came after she continued to defend her colonialism comments in opinion pieces and follow-up tweets.

“In this period, Ms Zille has continued to damage the party with various pieces of communication that seek to undermine what we are trying to achieve,” Maimane said.

The party has taken much swifter action against Mbali Ntuli, a DA member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature. Ntuli was among the first to criticise Zille for her tweets from within the party.

The DA announced disciplinary hearings against her almost immediately after she allegedly liked a Facebook post that accused Zille of being racist.

Zille will remain suspended from party activities until the disciplinary hearings against her conclude.

At the time that Maimane made the announcement, Zille was attending an event in Mitchell’s Plein, Cape Town in her official capacity as premier.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
Advertisting

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories