On Saturday Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane announced that former DA leader and current premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille had been suspended from the DA after refusing to apologize for her colonialism remarks.
However, after Zille stated that it was against the party’s constitution to suspend her without giving her time to make representations on the matter, the party released a statement saying it had sent Zille a notice of suspension. According to the statement, Zille had until the 6th of June to give reasons why she should not be suspended.
In March this year, Zille posted a number of tweets which appeared as a justification of colonialism in the eyes of many.
In one of the tweets, Zille said, “For those claiming [the] 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,” Zille added in another tweet.
Zille’s tweets sparked outrage on social media and the public at large, with some political commentators accusing her of preaching white supremacy, reminding nations that were once colonised that they have infrastructure because of colonialism.
After being criticized heavily for her remarks, Zille apologized, saying she did not mean to defend colonialism. “I apologise unreservedly for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not,” Zille tweeted in March. However, the DA decided to institute formal disciplinary action against her, with opposition parties calling for her removal from her position as Western Cape premier.
Nonetheless, there are mixed views on whether Zille should be suspended or not. While many have called for her suspension, there are those who sympathize with her, who believe that she was merely stating a fact and does not deserve to be suspended. Others think that although her colonialism remarks may be inappropriate, her suspension would be too harsh a punishment for her crime. The DA’s Federal Executive is expected to decide Zille’s fate after reviewing her representations.
On Tuesday Zille filed her reasons why she should not be suspended. Do you think she should be suspended?