Dianne Kohler Barnard: Demoted and facing charges

2015-10-04 17:00
Dianne Kohler Barnard

Dianne Kohler Barnard

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DA leader Mmusi Maimane has reacted to public pressure to take action against one of his party’s senior MPs, Dianne Kohler Barnard, by demoting her from her position as shadow minister of police. 

Kohler Barnard, who was a DA spokesperson for several years, will not lose her parliamentary seat but has been shifted to the position of deputy shadow minister of public works. 

Kohler Barnard is facing a charge of bringing her party into disrepute after sharing on her Facebook page a post calling for the return of late apartheid-era president PW Botha. 

She also becomes the first MP to be disciplined for contravening the party’s tightened social-media policy, which was reviewed recently. 

Kohler Barnard has deleted the controversial post and apologised for sharing it, claiming she did so without reading it in full. 

It read: “This is a bloody circus. Please come back PW Botha – you were far more honest than any of these ANC rogues, and you provided far better services to the public – we had a functioning education system, health system and police did not murder miners on behalf of government toadies as they do now.” 

Chairperson of the DA’s federal legal commission Glynnis Breytenbach has set up a panel that will hear the Kohler Barnard matter. 

The panel is made up of three DA members who are also practising attorneys. 

Breytenbach told City Press that charges were served on Kohler Barnard on Friday, and the party wanted to deal with the matter this coming week. 

She said she had not drawn up the charge sheet but she expected the charge to be one of contravening the social-media policy. 

She thought it would also encompass bringing the party into disrepute, embarrassing the party and damaging its good name. 

Several political parties, including the governing ANC, have called for the DA to remove Kohler Barnard from her parliamentary seat. 

But it is not clear whether the DA will go that far in disciplining her. 

Breytenbach said there were no prescribed sanctions should Kohler Barnard be found guilty, adding that a range of things would influence this. 

“It depends entirely on the panel, on the facts, and on the merits and demerits, as well as what evidence is led in aggravation and in mitigation,” she said. 

“I can’t pre-empt that, because I don’t know what it would be,” she added. 

Because this was such a high-profile matter, said Breytenbach – and because of the huge public outcry – the party would try to deal with it as quickly as possible.

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  diane kohler barnard

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