James de Villiers, News24
Cape Town – The DA’s federal committee on Wednesday afternoon formally laid charges against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille for her remarks on colonialism, federal chairperson James Selfe confirmed.
“Helen Zille received her charges this afternoon,” Selfe told News24.
“She is charged with having broadly brought the party into disrepute and damaging the party.”
Zille’s political career hangs in the balance following a series of tweets on March 16, from which the DA quickly distanced itself.
One of her tweets read: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water etc.”
A second tweet reads: “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 her comments, saying she never intended to defend colonialism.
Selfe said the party will set a date for a formal hearing following consultation with Zille’s lawyers.
The process might take several months to be completed, Selfe said.
The formal charges against Zille follow an interim report by Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, chairperson of the DA’s federal legal commission, which was completed on March 25.
“Breytenbach’s preliminary investigation found that Helen had a case to answer,” Selfe said.
“The report served in front of the federal executive and the executive accepted the report.”
Zille is a member of the federal executive, but the DA said she would be excused when the report against her is discussed.