PW Botha post will always haunt DA's Kohler Barnard - analyst

2015-12-22 20:28
PW Botha. Picture: Die Burger (File)

PW Botha. Picture: Die Burger (File)

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Cape Town – Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard’s social media blunder will haunt her for the rest of her political career, an analyst has said.

Political analyst Daniel Silke said even though Kohler Barnard had on Tuesday won her appeal against her expulsion from the party, and would remain with the party until the end of the fifth Parliament, the issue would remain a blot in her copy book.

Kohler Barnard’s DA membership was terminated at the end of October, and the expulsion was lifted on Tuesday, with conditions.

This was after she shared a Facebook post from journalist Paul Kirk, in which he praised former apartheid president PW Botha.

Silke said the original verdict from the party might have been too harsh, as it did not take into consideration her own personal beliefs on the matter about which she had posted.

He said the lifting of her expulsion was expected as the DA’s social media policy was still in its infancy.

Social media policy 'untried and untested'

"It is a new, untried and untested policy and it left the door open for a successful appeal," said Silke.

He said that at the end of the fifth Parliament, when Kohler Barnard’s membership expired, she would have to fight for a position in the party if she wanted to stay on.

This would haunt her, come election time, if she decided to fight it. But, he added, that three years was an eternity in politics and the issue might not be as important then.

A five-member panel of the Federal Legal Commission (FLC) of the DA on Tuesday decided that Kohler Barnard’s expulsion from the party should be suspended until 2019.  

This was on condition that she was not found guilty of the same transgressions during that period. She would also lose any positions within the party, except for that of Member of Parliament. She is currently the party’s deputy shadow minister of public works.

Her sanctions also included a R20 000 fine to a non-government organisation that works with people disadvantaged by apartheid. She would also have to attend a presentation on the safe and responsible use of social media.

Chairperson of the DA’s FLC, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, said the matter was now finalised. 

"The internal procedures of the party have been fully tested and have demonstrated, not only that the procedures work, but also a commitment to transparent and accountable internal governance."

Read more on:    da  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  dianne kohler barnard

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