Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is considering taking legal action against the Democratic Alliance over its decision to suspend her for her controversial tweets on colonialism.
But her resistance may come at the expense of the DA’s rule in Gauteng municipalities, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) threatening to pull out of its agreement with the DA if Zille is not removed as premier.
“I may [take legal action]. I am currently taking legal advice,” Zille told the Mail & Guardian. The former DA leader is set to face a disciplinary hearing by the federal executive on June 9, where it will decide whether to uphold her temporary suspension.
Zille said she had not attempted to interfere with the investigation and didn’t deserve to be suspended.
In April, the federal executive agreed and said it wouldn’t suspend Zille. Its change of tune this month has been interpreted by some party insiders as an attempt to block Zille from contesting the Western Cape leadership position in August, which she was reported to be considering.
Zille said she was aware of such speculation but was “not in a position to determine its validity”.
EFF leader Julius Malema threatened to pull out of the agreement that saw the DA rise to power in Johannesburg and Tshwane in the 2016 municipal elections.
“They will remain with Western Cape and we will take Tshwane and the rest. No party must love individuals more than the party. If they don’t suspend her … we will take our vote back,” Malema said. He said his stance was partly to protect DA leader Mmusi Maimane “because he is black”.
Zille denied claims that her continued defence of her colonialism tweets was a deliberate attempt to undermine Maimane’s leadership.
“If I am defamed and misrepresented I must be able to set the record straight,” she said. “These are basic constitutional rights and not an attempt to undermine anyone.”
DA federal executive chair James Selfe said the party was confident it had followed correct procedures.