Two DA MPs and former party leader Helen Zille are set to undergo disciplinary processes over a series of tweets in the last week which caused public outcry.
This was announced by DA leader Mmusi Maimane and returning chief whip John Steenhuisen when the two leaders addressed the media today, following the first sitting of the party’s parliamentary caucus for the sixth Parliament.
Maimane distanced himself yet again from a series of tweets by Zille – this time on “black privilege”.
Zille responded to a tweet on white privilege saying: “Well you clearly don’t understand black privilege. It is being able to loot a country and steal hundreds of billions and get re-elected. If ppl want permanent poverty for the masses they are going about it the right way. #BlackPrivilege”
Maimane said the party would be dealing internally with the matter, though he was unspecific as to how it would be done.
Zille was previously sanctioned over her tweets regarding colonialism – the sanctions included being banned from party activities and structures but those sanctions appeared to be lifted in recent months when she was given the green light to hit the campaign trail.
Two DA MPs – Michael Cardo and Ghaleb Cachalia – caused a row on social media last week as well. Cardo referred to a user as being the reincarnation of late Twitter user Pieter Howes, who allegedly suffered from depression and took his own life as a result.
“Hell’s bells, it’s like Pieter Howes has been reincarnated with Tourette’s syndrome,” Cardo tweeted.
Meanwhile Cachalia referred to 702 radio host Eusebius McKaiser as a “woman scorned”, a comment which Twitter users took to task, labelling it a homophobic slur.
Steenhusien said the two would be dealt with as their tweets affected the image of the party.
“We have a policy which governs members’ behaviour on social media. Both the members concerned have been referred to an internal process that is currently underway and once the outcome of that is concluded, it will no doubt be communicated,” the chief whip said.
“Let me be clear, we may be a party of individuals but we also acknowledge the fact that we are a team here in Parliament and when damage is done by some in their individual capacity, who are themselves a public representative, you can’t claim that it was done in a personal or private capacity because it has impact on the organisation. And so we certainly were very clear in caucus today on what we expect from public representatives in terms of their behaviour on social media and that we will certainly be tightening up the conduct of DA members of Parliament, particularly caucus which I and Mmusi are responsible for disciplining.”