Zille and Maimane settle: What does it mean?

2017-06-13 12:17
Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane (Photo: Gallo Images)

Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane (Photo: Gallo Images)

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WATCH: Zille apologises for colonialism tweet, remains WC Premier

2017-06-13 10:07

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille have reached a settlement over her controversial remarks about colonialism. Zille is expected to apologise unreservedly to the nation at a media conference in Johannesburg at 10:30 on Tuesday.WATCH

On Tuesday morning Helen Zille apologised for her controversial tweets on colonialism. Here is everything you need to know about her joint press conference with DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

What did Zille apologise for?

Zille gave an unqualified and unreserved apology for her tweets on colonialism as well as her subsequent defense thereof. She said she regrets undermining Maimane as leader of the DA. Her intention now is to do everything she can to restore public trust that has been eroded. 

Why did she continue to defend her tweet only to change her mind later?

Zille explained that after many engagements with Maimane, she has realised that her tweet and defense thereof was not in line with the DA's vision.

"After a period of debate and reflection, I recognise the offence caused by my tweet on 16 March 2017 with regard to the legacy of colonialism. I therefore apologise unreservedly to the South African public who were offended by this tweet and my subsequent explanation of it," she said.

She said that every idea that she holds is provisional until a better argument is made.

"The leader has called me in numerous times and we've had a lot of discussions. I also have with fellow members of the party and as I hope I've always done I reflected very hard on what they said to me and changed my position. As everybody knows I can hold a position very strongly and argue the case very determinedly, but I am not impervious to good, rational, sound arguments as open minded people should be. So that's why I've reconsidered it. 

She said she also took Maimane's points on the DA's reconciliatory vision very seriously.

What made her change her mind?

Zille said her first instinct was to fight back against the backlash to her tweets. Her second instinct was to consider the methods. Her third instinct was to think what will be the party's best course into the future.

"I have to think in 15 years time what will be best for the project of the DA. I believe a that I hurt a lot of people and I'm an empathetic person and don't want to hurt anyone, although I do not shy away from an argument. We've got a very big project to run in this country, and if it fails, South Africa fails. I need to be part of making it succeed, not making it fail."

What is Zille suspended from?

Zille has agreed to vacate her position on all decision-making structures of the party, including the Federal Executive, Federal Council and provincial council of the DA. She remains premier of the Western Cape and her public communication will be limited to her role as premier, which concludes with her term in 18 months; and if she does communicate on party matters, it should be approved by the correct party channels. She remains a member of the DA.

Will she be allowed in the DA's provincial caucus meetings?

Yes. While she's banned from all other party structural bodies she will still be allowed to attend caucus meeting as premier of the Western Cape. Zille said that she considered this fair, because when you're the leader of a party you don't want an ex-leader hanging around having opinions.

"I think it is appropriate that I stand down from the other party bodies, and perhaps I should've done it a long time ago, but not from the caucus," she said.

Zille said a caucus is essential to running a good government and doesn't discuss general party matters. It rather discusses party policy in relation to legislation in provincial government. 

Does this mean Maimane condones Zille's tweets on colonialism?

No. Mamaine said that everyone, especially leaders must remain mindful that colonialism was not a victimless crime and that many of remain victims of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

"I was personally angered by the tweets that were put forward by Helen Zille and I know many others were as well," he said. "This is why I took immediate action to let people know that these were not the views held by the DA.

"There's no room in this party for those who seek to divide or those who seek to mobilise on race," he said.

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