The following statement was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a press conference following a sitting of the party’s Federal Executive (FedEx) in Cape Town. Maimane was joined by the Chairperson the DA’s Federal Executive, James Selfe, and DA National Spokesperson, Phumzile Van Damme.
The Federal Executive of the Democratic Alliance has today – at a sitting in Cape Town – taken a decision to institute formal disciplinary action against Ms Helen Zille, following recommendations presented by the Party’s Federal Legal Commission (FLC).
This has not been an easy decision to take. Ms Zille is a former leader of the Democratic Alliance, and the Premier of the Western Cape. She has contributed immensely to the growth and success of the DA over the past decade. In the course of her life, she has consistently fought oppression and discrimination. However, my job as the Leader of the DA is to grow our party and advance our project of building a non-racial, prosperous democracy. Nothing is more important that this project, and no one is bigger than it. I must protect this project, and cannot tolerate any action or behaviour by any person which undermines or harms it. It is my belief that Ms Zille’s assertions did just that, and therefore require action.
The charge against Ms Zille is that she has violated the Party’s Federal Constitution by acting in a manner which has brought the party into disrepute. A formal disciplinary hearing will now be instituted in order to come to a finding.
Today’s decision follows a series of tweets by Ms Zille, published on 16 March 2017, which sought to communicate her experiences and impressions following a week-long visit to Singapore.
As Party Leader, I referred Ms Zille to the Federal Legal Commission on 16 March 2017 for investigation in order for that body to determine whether the public assertions by Ms Zille amounted to prima facie evidence of misconduct in terms the Federal Constitution. The Federal Legal Commission, in its report to the FedEx, confirms that there is in fact a case for Ms Zille to answer, and therefore the FedEx has decided to proceed with disciplinary action.
It must be made clear that this matter is not strictly confined to the series of tweets by Ms Zille. Since then, the matter has developed further. Therefore the initial referral was supplemented on 22 March 2017 to include reference to “a series of comments (made) publicly and on social media that have…exacerbated and amplified the original tweet.”
In particular, the FLC will now determine if Ms Zille has breached the following provisions of the DA’s Federal Constitution:
126.96.36.199 – publicly opposes the Party’s principles or repeatedly opposes published party policies, except in or through the appropriate Party structures;
188.8.131.52 – deliberately acts in a way which impacts negatively on the image or performance of the Party;
184.108.40.206 – brings the good name of the Party into disrepute or harms the interests of the Party;
As Party Leader, I have confidence in the independence and institutional strength of our internal structures and mechanisms, and we await the outcome arrived at by the disciplinary action – whatever that may be. The Democratic Alliance is a party committed to due process and the rule of law. That means everyone is equal before the party’s constitution, and it means that in every case, due process will be followed. This naturally places some limitations on what can be said about the details of the case in public. The FLC is not a body controlled by me or anyone in the DA. It is a panel of independently-minded, legally qualified individuals, who must hear the evidence and make a decision.
Notwithstanding this internal matter, I would like to make it abundantly clear that the DA remains resolute in our mission towards 2019. Our mission is clear: we seek to bring all South Africans together behind the vision of a united, non-racial future, under the Constitution, with a growing economy.
We are fast running out of time to save our country from the clutches of the Zuma administration and its Gupta bosses. Now, more than ever, we need to push on in removing Zuma from power.
In this light I will be leading thousands of South Africans on a march to the ANC HQ at Luthuli House this Friday, 7 April 2017, calling on the ANC to support our Motion of No Confidence in Jacob Zuma – which will be before Parliament in the coming weeks.
I have also convened a meeting with the leaders of all opposition parties in Parliament, in order to come together and agree on the way forward in removing Jacob Zuma from office. This meeting will be held on Monday, 3 April 2017, in Johannesburg.
Together, as South Africans from all walks of life, we must stand up for the Constitution, and everything it represents. We must to build a fair society in which every single South African – no matter the circumstances of their birth – can live a life they truly value.
For this to occur, we must be resolute in our commitment to change, which will require all of us as South Africans to work together in building the shared future we all dream of.