DA to charge Helen Zille over colonialism comments

The Federal Executive of the Democratic Alliance says it has taken a decision to institute formal disciplinary action against Western Cape premier, Helen Zille, for her comments about colonialism.

Zille caused an uproar on social media recently when she tweeted that not every aspect of European colonialism was bad.

DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, said in a statement on Sunday (2 April): “My job as the Leader of the DA is to grow our party and advance our project of building a non-racial, prosperous democracy. Nothing is more important that this project, and no one is bigger than it.

“I must protect this project, and cannot tolerate any action or behaviour by any person which undermines or harms it. It is my belief that Ms Zille’s assertions did just that, and therefore require action.”

The charge against Zille, said Maimane, is that she has violated the political party’s Federal Constitution by acting in a manner which has brought the party into disrepute.

He said that a formal disciplinary hearing will now be instituted in order to come to a finding.

Sunday’s decision follows a series of tweets by Zille, published on 16 March 2017, which sought to communicate her experiences and impressions following a week-long visit to Singapore.

Read: Maimane speaks out against Zille

“As Party Leader, I referred Ms Zille to the Federal Legal Commission on 16 March 2017 for investigation in order for that body to determine whether the public assertions by Ms Zille amounted to prima facie evidence of misconduct in terms the Federal Constitution.

The Federal Legal Commission, in its report to the FedEx, confirms that there is in fact a case for Ms Zille to answer, and therefore the FedEx has decided to proceed with disciplinary action,” Maimane said.

The DA leader stressed that the matter was not strictly confined to the series of tweets by Zille. Maimane said that the matter has developed further including “a series of comments (made) publicly and on social media that have…exacerbated and amplified the original tweet”.

The FLC will now determine if Zille has breached the following provisions of the DA’s Federal Constitution:

  • – publicly opposes the Party’s principles or repeatedly opposes published party policies, except in or through the appropriate Party structures;
  • – deliberately acts in a way which impacts negatively on the image or performance of the Party;
  • – brings the good name of the Party into disrepute or harms the interests of the Party.

Zille said in a brief note on social media on Sunday: “I will abide by due and fair process of SA and DA constitution and the rule of law.”


Read: Case of racism opened against Helen Zille

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DA to charge Helen Zille over colonialism comments