The DA has instituted formal disciplinary action against embattled Western Cape Premier Helen Zille following a recommendation from the party’s federal legal commission, a move the EFF in the Western Cape described as “a joke”.
Zille faces the axe for allegedly violating the DA’s social media policy after she, while waiting to board a plane from Singapore, insinuated in a tweet that colonialism was not all bad.
Jacobs said the DA should have suspended Zille as premier pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
“The DA’s decision to take Zille to a party disciplinary committee fails to bring a measure of relief to the people she has offended, especially if she still enjoys the benefits of power, without any ensuing shame of her shameless act,” he said.
“For DA black members uncertainty remains on where the party stands on racism and on the treatment of white and powerful leaders.
“(Mmusi) Maimane has not shown the same passion in putting South Africans first above Helen Zille who single-handedly put him where he is as he does about all matters ANC.”
Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu did not respond to a request for comment.
While Zille did not respond to a direct request for comment, she tweeted: “Have now received an e-mail from James Selfe of the DA. My comment stands.”
In another tweet, she said: “Whatever I hear from the DA I have only one comment: I will abide by due and fair process of SA and DA constitution and the rule of law.”
After spending a week in Singapore and Japan last month to strengthen tourism and investment relations, Zille tweeted: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water, etc.”
A few minutes later, she tweeted again: “Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please.”
Another tweet followed: “Getting onto an aeroplane now and won’t get onto the wi-fi, so that I can cut off those who think every aspect of colonial legacy was bad.”
While Zille was in the air and without internet access, an apology from her account was tweeted: “I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.”
EFF provincial chairperson Bernard Joseph said no one should take the DA’s disciplinary hearing against Zille seriously.
“I think we should not expect the DA to do anything and nothing will happen to Zille. I read that they have decided to charge her and a disciplinary hearing will take place. This is a joke. They are trying to pacify the broader public because of the outrageous comments made by Zille.”
Joseph said Zille’s conduct was not an example of a premier and she should step down. “But she won’t just like the president of this country.
“They will not take action like we saw with the likes of Penny Sparrow and some of their own members such as (Dianne) Kohler-Bernard.
“During the debate last week in the legislature, you could see that some of the DA's vocal members were not as vocal,” he said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said at a briefing yesterday that the case was not strictly confined to Zille’s series of tweets, but that it had developed further to include reference to “a series of comments (made) publicly and on social media that have exacerbated and amplified the original tweet”.
“The federal legal commission will now determine if Ms Zille has breached the following provisions of the DA's federal constitution:
* 220.127.116.11 – publicly opposes the party’s principles or repeatedly opposes published party’s policies, except in or through the appropriate party structures;
* 18.104.22.168 – deliberately acts in a way which impacts negatively on the image or performance of the party;
* 22.214.171.124 – brings the good name of the party into disrepute or harms the interests of the party,” Maimane said.