The Democratic Alliance (DA) has issued a statement saying Helen Zille has not yet been suspended, refuting an announcement by leader Mmusi Maimane that the suspension was in effect.
The party released a statement on Saturday following a response from Zille saying the DA had not allowed her fair opportunity to justify why she should not be suspended.
The DA now says it’s federal executive has written to the Western Cape premier “to signify its intention to temporarily suspend her from party activities until the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings instituted against her”.
The party’s Federal Legal Commission began investigating tweets Zille posted in March after she claimed colonialism was not “only negative”. Zille, the party said, violated its social media policy.
The issue has drawn public outrage against Zille, pressuring the DA to take action against her.
It has also created discord between Maimane and the former DA leader. Maimane has distanced himself from the tweets saying he in no way agrees that colonialism could be viewed as having positive effects on South Africa.
Zille, meanwhile, has defended her tweets in opinion pieces and on Twitter. Despite the investigation against her, she has continued to say colonialism was not only bad.
The latest statement comes after Zille accused the party of bullying her into incriminating herself or resigning on Saturday afternoon.
Zille’s response came after Maimane, in a press conference after a meeting of the Federal Executive, said Zille had been suspended from party activities and would receive notice of her suspension.
But the DA disagrees with Maimane. It says that Zille will be given the opportunity to make representations as to why she should not be suspended from party activities until the end of the disciplinary process.
“The notice calling for representations on suspension has already been served and requires any representations to be made within 72 hours,” the party said later on Saturday.
“The final decision of the DA Federal Executive regarding whether to suspend Helen Zille will be made once any such representations have been made and considered.”