Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has come out fighting in response to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane’s announcement on Saturday that she was suspended after failing to apologise for her views on colonialism.
In a tweet she said: “It is not correct that I have refused to apologise. I have apologised publicly. What I have not agreed to do is plead guilty to charges of misconduct‚ which I never committed.”
Maimane said Zille will not be able to participate in any party activities until her disciplinary hearing is concluded. But she will remain in her government role.
Maimane told journalists that Zille’s views on colonialism affected the standing of the party and he would now have to rebuild public trust in the DA.
In March‚ Zille took to Twitter where she said: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative‚ think of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water.”
Maimane said on Saturday that public representatives must be sensitive to “the legitimate anger that people still feel about our past and its legacy”.
This is the full text of Zille’s tweet reacting to Maimane’s announcement.
“The DA decided to charge me in terms of the federal constitution. I am obviously prepared to face a full disciplinary hearing. I have not accepted that the DA has the right to find me guilty and penalise me before the hearing even takes place. I cannot be bullied into resigning or incriminating myself.
“The decision of the DA’s federal executive to suspend me from the party does not comply with the requirements of section 3.6.3 of the DA’s own federal constitution‚ which requires that I be given time to make representations on the matter.
“In addition‚ there is a contradiction between the contents of a letter I have received from James Selfe‚ chairman of the DA’s federal executive‚ and the statement issued by DA leader‚ Mmusi Maimane.
“In his letter Mr Selfe has given me until June 6 to provide reasons why I should not be suspended until the outcome of my disciplinary hearing. However‚ Mr Maimane’s statement is unequivocal that the suspension is already operative.
“Furthermore‚ in the DA leader’s statement‚ his reason for why the fedex took this decision is not the full story. This will emerge over time. It is not correct that I have refused to apologise. I have apologised publicly.
“What I have not agreed to do is plead guilty to charges of misconduct‚ which I never committed. Because the DA stands for freedom and fairness‚ we need to follow due process of law‚ especially when this is initiated by the leader himself.”
In his statement‚ Maimane hinted in a breakdown in relationship between himself and Zille‚ who was the previous leader of the DA.
“It has become quite evident that Helen Zille and I hold fundamentally different attitudes about the mission the Democratic Alliance needs to accomplish in 2019‚ and the goals and priorities that flow from this‚” Maimane said.