Outgoing Western Cape premier Helen Zille. Picture: Jerome Delay/AP/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - Outgoing Western Cape premier Helen Zille has again landed herself in hot water for her controversial tweets on “black privilege” last week.

On Tuesday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said appropriate action was being taken by the federal executive against Zille. “The appropriate steps have been taken in this regard.

“We set the direction of the organisation and that’s the route we’re going to go, so that the party will deal with it as a federal executive.”

Zille sparked outrage when she tweeted that “black privilege” was being able to loot a country and get re-elected. Maimane said he did not share the views held by Zille.

“The discussion about privilege in this country is a function not only of history, which advantaged one race over the other, but it is a function of what the last number of years have done in government where we failed at being able to create access to opportunity for South Africans and ensure more can be included in our economy.”

Maimane said the discussion should be about asking black and white South Africans to work together to address historical injustices.

“Any view that seeks to polarise South Africans on the basis of race is not a view I will support.

“Our focus must be working together as South Africans, black and white, to recognise those injustices and work to address them.”

Also to be taken to task are two other DA MPs, Michael Cardo and Ghaleb Cachalia, for their posts on Twitter. Cardo had described a Twitter user as reincarnation of social commentator Peter Howes, who committed suicide, and Ghaleb had called political analyst Eusebius McKaiser a “woman scorned”.

DA chief John Steenhuisen said the pair’s conduct had been referred to the internal party processes.

“We have got a social media policy that governs the behaviour of members on social media. Both members have been referred to an internal process that is under way, and once the outcome is concluded, it will be communicated to the public.”

Steenhuisen also said they had made it clear at their caucus meeting what was expected from public representatives in terms of their behaviour on social media. “We will certainly be tightening up on the behaviour of DA members on social media.”

Maimane said the DA wanted to focus on ensuring the agenda of the people was at the centre of what Parliament debated and discussed in the new term of the national legislature.

“Fundamental to that is that we will ensure we hold this government accountable for their actions and to exercise accountability over the executive.” He said they would push for the tabling of a private members bill on intelligence-related matters and jobs.

Maimane said they wanted a standing committee established to exercise oversight over the Presidency.

He added that they would establish a “caucus of the opposition” with parties that shared their values and identified with the centre of politics.

“Where we have issues of commonality and points of principle, we agree to meet with other parties.”

Maimane said they would start afresh their campaign to have Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane removed from office.

“You can not have a public protector who issues judgments that can not be upheld by the courts.”

Political Bureau