Cape Town - The DA has set a date for the first steps of a possible disciplinary inquiry into Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's comments about colonialism, James Selfe, the chairperson of the party's federal executive, said on Wednesday.
The meeting will be held on Saturday, March 25.
Based on a report of that meeting, the federal executive would then decide whether to refer the matter to a disciplinary panel for a disciplinary hearing.
If it is referred to a disciplinary panel, the panel would meet and make a finding and a recommendation.
Selfe said the federal executive had to accept the finding of the disciplinary panel, and could amend the sanction, by either increasing or reducing it, if there was a good reason.
Last Thursday, Zille took to Twitter to complain about not being able to find the TV remote in the protocol lounge of OR Tambo International Airport, and other longstanding issues.
She then posted a series of tweets on “lessons” from Singapore.
“For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.
“Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please,” she tweeted.
Just before she boarded her flight, she tweeted: “Getting onto an aeroplane now and won’t get onto the Wi-Fi so that I can cut off those who think EVERY aspect of colonial legacy was bad.”
She later apologised for “a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism”.
But by then her successor as leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane, and some other party members had distanced themselves from her comments.
No Twitter ban
During Zille’s attendance in the provincial legislature later that day, angry MPLs rounded on her and the ANC caucus has since asked the Speaker for a snap debate on the topic.
The Speaker’s office is still deciding what to do about the request.
Meanwhile, Selfe said Zille had not been suspended.
“Our view on the matter is that the suspension is normally only contemplated when the person being investigated interferes with the investigation or intimidates witnesses,” he said.
Zille had also not been ordered to stay off Twitter.
“She has obvious rights as a citizen of South Africa to freedom of expression, and I would have thought that perhaps in view of this investigation, she would obviously want to temper it herself.” DM
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