Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has submitted her reasons for why she should not be suspended from Democratic Alliance activities to the party’s Federal Executive.
Zille confirmed on Tuesday that she sent through her requested reasons before the 17:00 deadline, following a notice of intention to suspend served on her by the party over the weekend.
She is facing charges of bringing the party into disrepute following tweets she posted on March 16 that were interpreted as a defence of colonialism.
The party’s next move will be determined by the length of Zille’s submissions, including whether to make them public, federal chairperson James Selfe told News24.
They would alert the public to any decision of the executive once her submissions were reviewed.
Her disciplinary hearing will begin in earnest on Friday, where she will appear before the party’s disciplinary panel.
‘DA must follow due process’
Zille told News24 on Monday before her deadline that her party has not been following protocol in her disciplinary proceedings.
“Due process is essential to fairness, and the DA has not followed its own constitution,” she said.
“The right of audi alteram partem [to listen to the other side] is central to the concept of natural justice.”
She also disputed Selfe’s claim on Monday that she referred to the wrong chapter of the party’s constitution in her defence over the weekend.
Selfe had said the Federal Executive had referred to Section 11, suspension from party activities, not membership, and therefore reserved the right to temporarily suspend her in that regard.
That explanation did not change her position at all, and she deserved the right to reply before being served a notice to suspend, she replied.
The former DA leader was also adamant that the contents of her tweets were backed up by academics, amid calls by the African National Congress and Cosatu in the Western Cape that she resigned.
“I am not sure how I can be asked to step down for an analysis that is shared by almost every serious scholar of the legacy of colonialism.”
Dispute ‘won’t hurt DA’s 2019 ambitions’
When asked if the ongoing saga around her disciplinary process was hurting the party’s campaign for the Union Buildings in 2019, she replied: “Our brand is good governance.
“If we govern well, wherever we are in government or coalition, that will speak louder than anything else we do, and that is what I am trying to do in the Western Cape.”
The party stood for freedom, fairness and opportunity, which “had to apply to everyone”, she said.
The former DA leader said she could still serve as Western Cape premier while suspended from party duties.
“As long as I am able to attend Cabinet meetings and discuss issues with members of caucus [I can still govern].”