Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
22 Oct 2019
10:00 am

SA has ‘racists of all races’, but Dianne Kohler Barnard isn’t one of them – Zille

Citizen Reporter

The DA's newly elected federal council chairperson says the party's policy is that 'if you're a racist of any type, get out'.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.

Democratic Alliance (DA) federal council chairperson Helen Zille said in an interview on Monday night that DA MP Diane Kohler Barnard “is not a racist”.

“You mustn’t twist what people say,” she told interviewer Onkgopotse ‘JJ’ Tabane.

According to Zille, Kohler Barnard made a “mistake on social media” that was distorted and taken out of context.

This follows news on Monday that Kohler Barnard has been cleared at the Equality Court in Cape Town of accusations of unfair discrimination made earlier this year by the party’s former director of parliamentary operations, Louw Nel.

Nel will also have to pay Kohler Barnard’s costs for the five-day trial.

Kohler Barnard was alleged by Nel to have made remarks that black youths were targeting white motorists in rock-throwing incidents on the N2 Highway in KZN.

In 2015, her membership of the DA was terminated following her sharing of a Facebook post which called for the return of apartheid president PW Botha. She argued she hadn’t read the post properly before sharing it. Her expulsion was subsequently overturned on condition she was not found guilty of a similar offence in future.

Earlier in her interview, Zille claimed the DA didn’t tolerate racism.

“If you’re a racist of any type, get out,” she said.

READ MORE: Mashaba’s column calling BEE a ‘cancer’ comes back to haunt him

“Let me say this, there are racists of all races in South Africa, I’m not the kind of person who believes that if you’re black you can’t be racist,” Zille said. Tabane told her this was another debate entirely but Zille countered that it was relevant to the point she was making.

Zille continued: “I will not say that people who used to vote for us and don’t vote for us anymore are racist, because those people who left us voted for a black leader in 2016, voted for Herman Mashaba in 2016, voted for a black leader Solly Msimanga in Tshwane, people who are racist don’t vote for black leaders.”

She is likely referring to voters who in this year’s elections gravitated to parties further to the right than the DA, such as the Freedom Front Plus.

She denied outgoing Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s claim, cited in his resignation speech, that the DA had become a party which “believes race is irrelevant”, saying that the DA was a party which believed in redress.

“There is no one in the DA who thinks race is irrelevant,” she said.

She said she had no idea how Mashaba came to this conclusion since she had never discussed the subject with him and wished he called her to talk about it.

“Everybody in the DA believes race is still a very potent issue in SA and if they don’t understand that they’re living in cloud cuckoo land.”

However, she added that Mashaba had previously “rightly said” that the redress employed by the ANC government “has created more inequality, not less”. She may be referring to a 2015 column from Mashaba in which he forcefully argued against race-based policies such as BEE.

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