Helen Zille receives her disciplinary charges
The Western Cape premier tweeted last month that colonialism's legacy included a judicial system and infrastructure.
Hellen Zille arrives at the Willows Conference Centre, 08 May 2015, in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, ahead of the first day of the party’s Federal Congress. Picture: Alaister Russell
The DA’s federal committee on Wednesday afternoon formally laid charges against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille for her tweets on colonialism, according to federal chairperson James Selfe.
He said she had received the charges.
“She is charged with having broadly brought the party into disrepute and damaging the party,” Selfe told News24.
He said the party was yet to set a date for a formal hearing as they needed to consult with Zille’s lawyers and the process was likely to be protracted for months.
The case could see the premature end of Zille’s political career after she tweeted that colonialism’s legacy was not all bad.
Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, the chairperson of the DA’s federal legal commission, completed a report on Zille’s conduct last month, which found there was a case to answer.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane had said earlier this month it had been a “very difficult decision” by the party’s federal executive to institute formal disciplinary steps against Zille.
Maimane said that what made it difficult was that Zille had a sterling track record as a politician who had “consistently fought oppression” and grown the DA more than any other leader.
However, he said he was committed to “the project” of growing the DA and making it attractive to a broader cross-section of South Africa’s population, particularly black people, and no one would stand in the way of achieving the goals of that project.
He said the tweets by Zille on March 16 about her trip to Singapore, and which gave the impression that she may have been defending the legacy of colonialism, amounted to a possible case of misconduct according to the party’s constitution, since she had potentially brought the party into disrepute.
One of her tweets read: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”