On Wednesday morning, the Federal Executive (FedEx) of the Democratic Alliance (DA) decided by an overwhelming majority to officially suspend Ms Helen Zille from party related activities until such time as her disciplinary hearing is concluded. The suspension is effective immediately.
This past Saturday, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane proposed to the Federal Executive that Ms Zille be served with a notice of suspension, whereby she was afforded 72 hours to make representations as to why she should not be suspended. After consideration of Ms Zille’s representations, the FedEx took an official decision to suspend her. The disciplinary hearing will commence this Friday, 9 June 2017.
The Federal Executive agreed that Ms Zille’s social media commentary and public utterances in connection with colonialism breaks down public trust, stunts South Africa’s reconciliation imperative, and undermines our political project. There is no question that Ms Zille’s original tweets and subsequent justifications have damaged our standing in the public mind. We live in a fragile democracy which means our public representatives must, at all times, be sensitive to the legitimate anger that people still feel about our past and its legacy.
As a former leader and as a member of the Federal Executive, Ms Zille has a special duty of care to protect the party’s interests and promote the party’s mission, which is to build a non-racial, inclusive democracy. Ms Zille’s statements are at variance with this.
Mr Maimane has pursued every avenue to resolve this matter. All of his previous good faith attempts have thus far been to no avail. Mr Maimane has asked Ms Zille to issue a full apology for her actions and has sought to find a solution to this matter. In every effort he has made, Ms Zille has refused to take the appropriate action necessary to resolve this unfortunate and damaging matter. Her ongoing communication on this issue has continued to cause damage to the party.
It must be made clear that Ms Zille continues in her government role as Premier of the Western Cape. There is a separation between party and state, and this suspension does not affect her government role. This matter deals with her standing within the DA.
Though the actions of Ms Zille have damaged the DA and brought our party into disrepute, there is no doubt that DA supporters will find strength in our unreserved dedication to the party’s integrity, and the institutions that support that integrity.
Below is the text of the resolution adopted by the Federal Executive:
THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE –
Noting the submissions and content of the communication received from Helen Zille,
Resolves that she be temporarily suspended from Party activities in terms of section 11.6.5 of the Federal Constitution, so that the disciplinary matter with which she has been charged can be judged on its merits, so that the Federal Legal Commission can be allowed to continue its business without fear or favour.