The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be “taking steps” against former Western Cape premier Helen Zille for her controversial tweets about “black privilege”.
What this will entail remains to be seen, with Daily Maverick having reported that while she has been rebuked for her controversial comments by the party, she is essentially immune from disciplinary action since vacating her position as premier.
Zille caused outrage on Twitter after defining “black privilege” as “being able to loot a country and get re-elected”, views she stood by and expanded upon in many other tweets.
The plans to take some form of action against Zille were announced at a press briefing where party leader Mmusi Maimane spoke following the party’s caucus meeting ahead of the sixth parliament on Wednesday.
At the briefing, Maimane discussed the furore surrounding Zille’s tweets directly for the first time.
“I do not agree with the views that have been put forward by the former premier of the Western Cape and I’ll tell you why,” he said.
“The discussion of privilege in our country is a function not only of our history … which advantaged a particular race over another, but it’s also a function of what the last number of years have done in government, where we have failed at being able to create an access to opportunity for for all South Africans, ensuring that ultimately more South Africans can be included in our economy.
“The resolution to that challenge is not a function of discussing black privilege or white privilege, it is a discussion of asking black South Africans and white South Africans to work together to address a historical injustice, and therefore any view that seeks to polarise South Africans based on race is not a view I will support,” Maimane continued.
The DA leader also said two DA MPs would be disciplined for controversial Twitter comments, one of which was seen as homophobic and the other insensitive to those suffering from mental health problems.
The former is Ghaleb Cachalia, who described 702 talk show host Eusebius McKaiser as a “woman scorned” on Twitter, which caused offence as it was considered by many of those who reacted to it as a repetition of the homophobic trope of referring to homosexual males as females.
The latter is Michael Cardo, who described a Twitter user he was arguing with as being the reincarnation of Pieter Howes, a social commentator and former actor who took his own life earlier in May.
“Hell’s bells, it’s like Pieter Howes has been reincarnated with Tourette’s syndrome,” Cardo tweeted.
At the briefing, Maimane also announced that John Steenhuisen would be returning in his role as the party’s chief whip for the sixth parliament.
DA federal chairperson Athol Trollip also spoke, reiterating the party’s line that their drop in support in the recent elections would not be used as a reason to remove Maimane as the party’s leader.
According to Trollip, Maimane is safe until the party’s next federal elective conference in 2021. He added that Maimane has initiated a review probing the party’s declining share of the vote.
— Lindsay Dentlinger (@metrobabe) May 21, 2019