It's not over yet - Zille

2017-06-08 18:41
Western Cape premier Helen Zille reacts to an ANC speaker, Cameron Dugmore, referring to her infamous 'refugee-tweet' during a debate on racism in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Western Cape premier Helen Zille reacts to an ANC speaker, Cameron Dugmore, referring to her infamous 'refugee-tweet' during a debate on racism in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says she is ready to give the DA's disciplinary hearings against her a chance, and has declared: "It's not over until the fat lady sings."

"I'm feeling fine. I'm used to the ups and downs of politics, and hard knocks. I'm as tough as a piece of old biltong," she told News24.

"I stand by everything in my reasons. I [considered] them very carefully."

The Democratic Alliance's Federal Executive on Wednesday suspended her from party activities until her disciplinary proceedings have been concluded. These related to tweets she published in March about the legacy of colonialism.

On Tuesday, she submitted nine pages of reasons why she should not be suspended. She presented three areas in which she contested the party's intention to suspend her.

She had a problem with procedural issues, arguing that the party did not allow natural justice to take its course, by making a decision before she could submit reasons to the contrary.

READ: Mmusi, FedEx pre-judged me - Zille

She took issue with the party's grounds for suspending her. Her tweets neither breached her oath of office nor the party's constitution, she said.

She was ready to stand her ground once her disciplinary hearings started on Friday.

"I think we should give the disciplinary process a chance. Let's see what happens. I'll make my case and make it well. I've got a lot of evidence and research [and] I will take it all there."

Apology

She said her party and the public seemed to have ignored the apologies she had made on Twitter and in the Western Cape legislature.

"There is an assumption that I refused to apologise, but I apologised twice," she said.

"My tweets were talking about Singapore, and the lessons I learnt in Singapore, and I said there was a lot to learn from Singapore. Anyway, you saw all my reasons. I thought they made sense."

She said DA leader Mmusi Maimane would have to explain why her apologies were not sufficient.

In her reasons, she said there had been several attempts over the last few weeks to force her to resign before a hearing.

"Now that I have made it quite clear that I will not, and after the party has delayed for over a month in giving me the further particulars that I requested to prepare my case, the fedex has decided to suspend me.

"I regard this as a form of punishment for my insistence that we follow due process, and the decision is hence unlawful."

Treated differently

She was being treated differently as a white woman, she said.

"Given that so many black South Africans have expressed exactly the same views on the legacy of colonialism as I have (only in more forceful terms) and given that the DA has never raised any concerns about these views, let alone repudiated them, and has no written policy on the matter, I drew the conclusion that a contributing reason to my being charged is the fact that I am not black," she argued.

Other, unspecified, events in the past few months had led her and others to conclude that DA members received different treatment according to their race, Zille argued.

As evidence of this, she cited two other disciplinary cases, one involving the social media post by a white member, and the other involving social media posts by a black member.

"This latest suspension decision merely reinforces the perception of unequal treatment."

She intimated she was ready for a fight.

"Let's wait until we get to the end of the process, that's all. It's not over until the fat lady sings."

She would ultimately always fight for the party's constitution.

Read more on:    da  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  politics

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