‘Helen isn’t a racist.’ DA caucus ‘emotional’ over colonial tweets

Helen Zille. Picture: Schalk van Zuydam/AP
Helen Zille. Picture: Schalk van Zuydam/AP

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s tweets on colonialism were in the spotlight for more than four hours on Thursday during a “tense and emotional” Democratic Alliance caucus meeting.

Zille addressed the 30-odd members at her own request, and the “robust and open” discussions that followed were apparently “tense” at times. 

Her political career is in the balance because of her tweets that not all aspects of colonialism were bad.

Read: DA faces its Rubicon after Zille's tweets

The DA distanced itself from the tweets and immediately ordered an inquiry. Zille apologised. 

Members of political parties were not supposed to discuss what is said in caucus, because it was confidential. However, one source told Media24 that the meeting had been necessary and the DA MPs were very outspoken.

“Everyone took part. It was an open, honest  and robust discussion which, at times, was characterised by raw emotion.  It was a serious meeting in which members emphasised the dangers of social media, as well as the impact the Zille tweets had on the DA because of the perceptions it created. People are concerned about what the fall-out will be for the party.”

Another source described the meeting as “tense, emotional and sad”. One member of the provincial parliament was apparently in tears.

“People could air their opinions openly and say how they felt. We are sad because we know Helen isn’t a racist. We do, however, know that there are people with other agendas.”

Read: DA ‘patriotic to whites’, ‘will never recall Zille’ over colonialism tweets

Zille was “calm and open to the criticism that came her way”, the source said. At the end, there was no bad blood.

Neither Zille, not her spokesperson, Michel Mpofu, answered their cellphones yesterday.

The chair of the DA’s legal commission, Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, will be holding talks with Zille today, after which she will make recommendations to the DA federal council about whether disciplinary action should be taken and what the charges should be.

Philda Essop
Parliamentary reporter
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001
w:www.citypress.co.za  e: philda.essop@24.com
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