South Africa’s DA Under Fire As It Suspends Former Leader, Helen Zille


Most of the time all the criticism from normal the citizens of South Africa and opposition figures are directed at the ruling ANC party but this time, the Democratic Alliance, is under fire even after suspending its former leader, Helen Zille, for what were deemed racists tweets made earlier in the year.

In a series of tweets made in March, Helen Zille who is also the Western Cape Premier was said to have defended certain aspects of colonialism. For the DA which has been accused in the past of being primarily concerned about the interests of racial minorities, it was an especially harmful action to be undertaken by a party member.

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Mmusi Maimane, the party leader, who took over from Zille and became the first black leader of the party, therefore, lodged a complaint against his former mentor. His spokesperson Graham Charters said:

“And whether it’s Helen Zille or anyone else if that project is derailed by comments, by actions then it’s the leader’s responsibility to act and that’s what Mr Maimane did.”

The ANC in the Western Cape undoubtedly more comfortable in its role as critic says the suspension of the former DA leader shows the party is fragmented. ANC’s Khaya Magaxa says:

“If the DA can’t deal with its own internal decisions or processes, we as the ANC, we’ve got no choice but to raise a vote of no confidence against Zille.”

Helen Zille

EFF, the other opposition SA party, said that the suspension of Helen Zille only from party activities was at best “playful” and showed that the DA cared more about itself than South Africans. According to them;

“If her disciplinary process means it is important that she does not participate in DA activities, why is this not also the case with government?”

“What makes DA decision-making structures more important than the people’s government structures that she presides over as premier?”

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi further referred to the party as saying that the DA has demonstrated its incapacity for administering justice and prioritizing the people of South Africa.

“The DA, if it wants us to take them seriously as a party capable of administering justice, they have to remove her and allow her to defy their call then. They must tell her ‘You are suspended, you are to immediately get out as premier until such time that your DC is concluded.”

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The DA is not only facing criticism from the other SA parties. Helen Zille who is apparently unwilling to take the suspension quietly publicized her response to the act less than an hour after the DA confirmed it.

She took to Twitter to write and share a link to her full statement on why she should not have been suspended;

Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, political analysts also joined their voices to the discussion warning that more damage might be done to the party in the run-up to 2019 if the DA does not dislodge Zille. Some of her supporters in the Western Cape have, however, reaffirmed their support for her.

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