Western Cape premier Helen Zille has been officially charged by the DA's federal legal commission. File picture: Ross Jansen/Independent Media

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has officially been charged over her tweets in which she claimed aspects of colonialism were not "all bad", the party confirmed on Wednesday night.

The party's federal executive chairperson James Selfe would however not be drawn on the exact charge or charges the Western Cape premier would face when she's hauled in front of the DA's disciplinary committee.

"In the interest of justice and because the matter is sub-judice, that's all I'm willing to say at this point," Selfe said.

Selfe has previously said the disciplinary process against Zille could take several months to conclude because the former DA leader was – among other factors considered – an "extremely" busy person.

Zille – who is an active Twitter user – had vehemently denied she praised colonialism in her series of tweets which she posted last month.

"The tweeple had concluded that I had defended colonialism. Not so, I said, I had merely said that although it had been an oppressive and evil system, not every consequence had been negative," she wrote.

DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe. Picture: ANA Pictures

Selfe told the Cape Argus the party's federal legal commission (FLC) had handed Zille a charge sheet.

He had previously rubbished criticism from opposition parties that Zille should have been suspended pending the outcome of the disciplinary process, saying "people in the DA are only suspended if there is a realistic prospect that they will interfere with an investigation or interfere with witnesses".

"Neither of these apply in respect of Ms Zille," he said.

Selfe said the disciplinary process, which started last week after an internal investigation into the social media debacle, could take months.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is in hot water over remarks on colonialism in her tweets.

"The DA’s procedures involve hearings at which evidence is led and witnesses are cross-examined. The panel meets when the panel members, the accused member and his or her legal representative(s) are simultaneously available," he explained.

Another factor which had to be considered was that Zille is "extremely busy", Selfe said.

"There is furthermore an appeal stage that is possible. All these factors suggest a longer time for the process to be completed."

Laid the complaint: DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/Independent Media

The debacle follows a complaint lodged by DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Zille's successor.

Maimane said it was not limited to the tweets though, and indicated that Zille had made matters worse for herself with her subsequent attempts to explain and defend her stance.

On April 2, Maimane said that it would be investigated whether Zille brought the party into disrepute by breaching three articles in the DA's constitution.

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