Helen Zille is to face a formal disciplinary hearing by her party, the DA, after tweeting controversially about colonialism.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane told journalists on Sunday morning that the party’s federal executive had not taken the decision to discipline Zille easily.
DA Maimane. This was a hard decision because I still have respect for #Helen Zille. But I have to act in the interests of the Party.
— Annika Larsen (@AnnikaLarsen1) April 2, 2017
Maimane said: “Nothing is more important to this particular project [DA attempts to take votes from the ANC] and no one particularly is bigger than it.I must protect the project and cannot tolerate the behaviour of any individual who seeks to undermine it. It’s my belief certainly having read the report that sessions put before us require disciplinary action.
Zille responded to the news on Twitter.
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.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) April 2, 2017
Maimane said: “The charge against Ms Zille is that she allegedly violated the party’s federal constitution and brought the party into disrepute. A formal disciplinary hearing will be instituted to come to a finding.”
Maimane said the matter was not confined to the tweets.
“Since then the matter has developed further, therefore the initial referral was supplemented on 22 March 2017 to include references to a series of comments made publicly and on social media that have exacerbated and amplified the original tweet.”
The federal legal commission chairperson Glynis Breytenbach made a preliminary investigation into Zille’s tweets and submitted a report to federal executive chairperson James Selfe for discussion by the top DA leaders.
Political lecturer at Wits University Ivor Sarakinsky said the disciplinary procedure was a delaying tactic.