South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, suspended Helen Zille, its former leader and premier of the Western Cape province, from all party activities pending the outcome of a formal disciplinary inquiry after she appeared to defend colonialism in a series of posts on Twitter.
“For those claiming the legacy of colonialism was only negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport, infrastructure, piped water etc,” Zille wrote on social media site Twitter two months ago. “Would we have had a transition into specialized health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest please.”
My statement on the FEDEX decision (1 of 2). pic.twitter.com/ZiUdpm340R
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) June 3, 2017
The party has now decided to expedite a disciplinary hearing against Zille for bringing it into disrepute, DA leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters in Johannesburg on Saturday. Zille remains premier of the DA-run Western Cape province.
However, Helen Zille says the decision by the party’s Federal Executive to suspend her “does not comply” with its own constitution.
Zille has also refuted current leader Mmusi Maimane’s claim that she did not apologise for her tweets on colonialism, saying in a statement: “It is not correct that I have refused to apologise. I have apologised publicly.”
But the Western Cape premier – who will continue her duties as leader of the province during her DA suspension – is standing firm.
The DA won 27 percent of the vote in municipal elections in August last year, and together with other opposition parties seized control of several major cities, including the commercial hub of Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, from the ruling African National Congress.