Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says Helen Zille’s public utterances in connection with colonialism have damaged the party, while Zille says she rejects colonialism and apartheid but maintains that there were some benefits.
Maimane on Saturday announced that the party’s Federal Executive Council had resolved to suspend Zille, following an outcry over her tweets about the positives of colonialism.
Maimane says while he was also offended by the colonialism tweets he reiterates that he doesn’t believe Zille is racist, adding that she has contributed to South Africa’s democracy.
While the DA leader announced Zille’s suspension, Zille said she cannot be suspended without making her representation as to why she shouldn’t be suspended.
Later after that announcement, the da federal executive wrote to Zille asking her to make her representations in 72 hours.
Maimane says he and Zille have disagreed on the direction the party needs to take in the run up to the 2019 general elections.
“It has become quite fundamentally clear that Premier Zille and I hold different attitudes about the direction the Democratic Alliance needs to accomplish in 2019.”
At the same time, Zille says she has never condoned colonialism or apartheid.
“I reject colonialism, reject apartheid. What I’m saying is that can you repurpose aspects of its legacy, such as, for example, our Constitutional principles.”
Maimane delivered feedback on the party’s two-day meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, where he announced that the federal executive has resolved to suspend Zille.
“Our federal executive has resolved that Ms Zille be suspended from all party activities until such time that the disciplinary hearing is concluded.”
However, the Western Cape premier alerted the party leadership to its own constitution which requires her to make representation as to why she should not be suspended.
Zille said she received a letter from the party’s James Selfe letting her know that she has until 6 June to make the necessary representations.
She added the announcement of her suspension goes against the party’s constitution, which requires that she be given an opportunity to answer as to why she should be placed on suspension.
Zille said that she cannot be suspended before she has made her representations.
“According to Mmusi Maimane’s statement, the suspension is already operative; and my reading of the DA constitution is that they can’t do that.”