Johannesburg. — The DA has appointed a “strong, experienced legal team” to lead the disciplinary hearing of its former leader, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, for her tweets on colonialism. DA deputy federal legal commission chairperson Werner Horn said all three members held qualifications in law. They are: Hans-Jurie Moolman, who is a DA councillor from Potchefstroom; Pogiso Monchusi, who is a party member, but does not hold public office; and Dr Annelie Lotriet, who is a DA member of Parliament.
“So all three members of the panel hold qualifications in law, two of the three are practicing lawyers, and they have the necessary experience also within the federal legal commission.
“So this is a strong enough panel, with enough expertise and experience within the federal legal commission to do the job,” Horn told News24. Zille has been charged with having broadly brought the DA into disrepute, and of damaging the party, with her March 16 tweets defending aspects of colonialism.
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.”
The tweets sparked widespread public outrage from senior members of the DA, including party leader Mmusi Maimane, and the public alike.
Zille apologised and said she was not defending or justifying colonialism, but only highlighting that its consequences were not only negative.
“Of course colonialism had a diabolical impact worldwide, including South Africa. That was the very premise of my tweets.
“Anyone who read them without a personal or political agenda would have understood that. If you say the consequences of something were not only negative, you are saying most were negative,” she said.
“But if there was anyone who genuinely thought I was praising, defending, or justifying colonialism, I apologised unreservedly and stressed that this was not so. I do so again now,” Zille said.
She is expected to report to Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, chairperson of the DA’s federal legal commission, after consulting with her lawyers, before a date for the hearings which are expected to last two days — will be decided. — News24.