22. I have done nothing to breach my oath of office as Premier that warrants my
resignation or removal from this office. Hence, I regard the attempts to “resolve”
the matter on that basis as not being bona fide efforts to do so. They were attempts
to punish me without a hearing, after the leader had pronounced on my guilt in
advance in public.
23. In fact, the actions and recent statements, including those by the Fedex, raise
questions as to whether it is possible for me to have a fair hearing at all within the
party, and I reserve my rights in this regard.
24. In addition, it is clear that until such time as the party stops the leakage of
misinformation to the media about my actions in this matter, I do not believe that
my suspension from Party activities will, in any way, prevent further damage to the
Party resulting from this issue. In fact, I believe the contrary to be true. I submit that
it could be severely prejudicial because as Premier of the province, I have to be able
to caucus with my colleagues in the Western Cape, and a failure to do so could result
in embarrassment to the Party in the legislature and would severely retard my ability
to lead the Western Cape government successfully in the build up to the next
elections. In addition, the successes that we have achieved in the province provide
an excellent platform for our 2019 campaign. Excluding me from sharing this within
the party and the public will in fact have a negative effect on the party’s
performance in 2019.
25. Responding to reports that the delay in the process has been due to me, it is
important to place on record that the reason for the delay is a result of the Party not
furnishing my legal representatives with the particulars I requested over a month
ago. I am thus being doubly prejudiced, in that I have not been able to defend
myself, and now my rights as a member of the Party are being taken away.
26. The Leader was recently reported in the media as intending to block me from
standing for provincial leader in the Western Cape. I denied any intention to stand
at the provincial congress in September, but the fact remains that it is not within the
leader’s rights to “punish” me in this manner, and allegedly with this motive, before
the disciplinary process is finalized. Any ulterior motive of this kind (ie to prevent
me contesting a leadership position) would make the decision challengeable on this
27. It is quite clear that other factors, rather than the reasons stated, have motivated
this Fedex decision to suspend me. These “other reasons” include a statement by the
Leader on 4 May that “It has become quite evident that Helen Zille and I hold
fundamentally different attitudes about the mission the Democratic Alliance needs to
accomplish in 2019, and the goals and priorities that flow from this.”
28. This conclusion could only have been drawn from a frank discussion initiated by the
Leader with me, and held on 18 May, which we agreed, beforehand, was off the record
and without prejudice. This discussion was held in the presence of my legal adviser. By
using this discussion as a reason to now suspend me, means he has ignored these
express legal provisos. The real irony is that these are the kinds of discussions that
SHOULD be the substance of debate in a political party. If a person can be suspended
for simply expressing a different view, in confidential conversations, to that of the
leader, the DA is on a slippery slope, and no longer represents or upholds the values of
freedom, fairness and opportunity. The consequences of this are dire in a political party.
If the perception (or even reality) of a difference of opinion can be used to suspend me,
then we will shut down debate in the DA. No-one else will feel free to express a
contrary opinion to that of the leader, or if they do, they stand the risk of the same thing
happening to them. This is a fundamental conflict with the principles and values
enshrined in the DA Constitution.
29. I refer now to the motion adopted by the Western Cape Provincial Council. You
mention this motion as one of the reasons that the Fedex resolved to suspend me.
Firstly, the motion was supported by motivations from Bonginkosi Madikizela, the
interim Provincial Leader, and Debbie Schafer. Why are you only referring to the
latter? The motion was had two proposers and three seconders: Basil Kivedo,
Masizole Mnqasela and Ivan Meyer. It was drafted by Ivan Meyer, who also serves
on Fedex. Furthermore, the motion was unanimously adopted at the Provincial
Council. There was not one dissenting voice, despite the fact that there were several
Fedex members present, including yourself.
30. It appears that in this respect too, the Fedex is of the view that I am somehow the
author of the motion. This is not true and is in fact an insult to the members of the
Western Cape Provincial Council who brought and deliberated the motion.
31. I wish to state that I had nothing to do with this motion (although I would have been
perfectly entitled to if I had so wished). I did not propose it, draft it or motivate it.
The idea emerged spontaneously from some of my colleagues, without input from
me, and received strong endorsement. You state in your letter that “It is plain from
that motion and its motivation that it – directly or indirectly – relates to the issues
raised by your [my] conduct and disciplinary proceedings”.
I am not sure what thought processes could possibly lead to a connection between
my disciplinary proceedings, which relate to my tweets about the lessons I learnt in
Singapore, and this motion. Nothing in the motion, nor in its supporting
motivations, relate to the issues surrounding my disciplinary at all. In my view this
conclusion is thus illogical and incorrect and does not provide a rational basis for
32. A response provided by you to an interview on 5 June with Eusebius McKaiser, you
said a motivation for the suspension was to prevent me from “stirring things up”.
This would appear to be an accurate explanation for the decision to suspend me, and
would be unlawful, as you yourself conceded later in the interview.
33. Your earlier comment that “It is important that there be no suggestion that your
participation in party structures has given rise to the motion or will affect its
outcome“, is telling. What you, in fact, are saying is that you are concerned that the
people who proposed and motivated this motion, have the same views that I do, and
need to be separated from me in order to ensure that they will fall in line with the
Leader. This is an implied insult to these members – suggesting they could not have
proposed this motion on their own, and that it must have been a result of instigation
by me — an assumption which is devoid of all truth. It also shows how Fedex is
trying to clamp down on any dissenting voice in the Party, while using me as a
Re: My Apology
34. Even though this is not in your letter, the Leader, in his widely quoted statement on
the reason he gives for my suspension, says that one of the reasons for the decision
to suspend me was because I declined to apologise unreservedly to South Africa and
the DA for the “damage” I have done. This statement too does not accurately reflect
35. On the morning that the tweets were sent (16 March 2017), I received a phone call
from the Leader’s chief of staff about my series of tweets on the lessons I had learnt
in Singapore. I was taken aback when Geordin said they were being read as a
justification and defence of colonialism (which any objective reading will show they
were not). Indeed, they were precisely the opposite, premised on the conclusion
that colonialism and its legacy were primarily negative, but not ONLY negative. That
view is shared by almost every serious historian on the subject.
36. I intend to demonstrate at my disciplinary hearing how this distortion of my tweets
occurred, and the process which drove the generation of public outrage.
37. Despite the gross misinterpretation of my tweet, I nevertheless complied with
Geordin’s request to apologise and posted the following: “I apologise unreservedly
for a tweet that may have come across as a defence of colonialism. It was not.”
38. I repeated this sentiment in the urgent debate called by the ANC on the subject in
Parliament as follows:
“This debate is about a series of tweets relating to lessons learnt from my recent visit to
Singapore and Japan.
None of them defended, justified or praised colonialism or apartheid. I can factually say
that few in this house have put as much on the line to fight apartheid as I did.
Of course, colonialism had a diabolical impact worldwide, including South Africa. That
was the very premise of my tweets. Anyone who read them without a personal or
political agenda would have understood that. If you say the consequences of something
were not ONLY negative, you are saying most WERE negative.
But if there was anyone who genuinely thought I was praising, defending or justifying
colonialism, I apologised unreservedly and stressed that this was not so. I do so again.
In South Africa, colonialism and apartheid subjugated and oppressed a majority, and
benefited a minority, on the basis of race. This is indeed indefensible, and I have never
supported, justified, praised or promoted it, as my life story attests.”
39. It is important to note that in his correspondence with me, the Leader did not merely
wish me to apologise unreservedly. He also sent me a list of statements he required
the apology to include such as an admission that “my tweets and subsequent
defence and justification of them brought the party into disrepute.”
40. This is one of the offences I am charged with under the Federal Constitution. In
requiring this admission of me, before the hearing, the Leader is opening the way for
a conviction and sentence, while nullifying my right to a defence. There was no
mention in the letter of the charges being withdrawn if I admitted guilt to an offence
I do not believe I committed. This could have very serious implications that I hardly
need to spell out.
41. Finally, I dispute your statement that you are not legally bound to give me an
opportunity to make representations on your intention to suspend me. Section 3.6.3
of the Federal Constitution obliges you to do so, and I submit that section 11.6.5
cannot remove that obligation, which is a basic requirement of fair administrative
42. All the above notwithstanding, it has become clear to me that the majority of Fedex
members do not wish for me to currently attend its formal meetings or activities
pending the determination of my disciplinary hearing. I note that before the Fedex
took the decision to suspend me, I was already being excluded from party activities
43. Whilst I have been profoundly hurt by the way this matter has been handled by
Fedex and the unfounded accusations that are being levelled against me by the
leadership currently, which I can only style as a vindictive and personal campaign
against me, I have no intention of participating on a DA Fedex or Federal Council
under current circumstances. As the Leader knows, I have asked him, before every
Fedex since this issue arose, whether he would prefer me to absent myself. When
he answered in the affirmative, I stayed away in order to make matters easier for
him. Given this background, had Fedex asked me to consider voluntarily not
attending Fedex or Federal Council meetings whilst my disciplinary matter is
ongoing, I would have willingly agreed. I therefore hereby volunteer not to attend
any Fedex or Federal Council meeting or related matter in my current capacity (i.e.
as a co- opted member), until my disciplinary matter is resolved, one way or another.
This will hopefully alleviate the need for Fedex to take another unlawful decision to
suspend me from those party structures and a costly time-consuming court case that
could then ensue. This decision should however not be construed as me accepting
that there is a basis for suspension. Instead, it is underpinned by two core
considerations, first, that the matter has already been prejudged and accordingly my
rights to a fair process have already been compromised and second, in the interests
of saving the party any further reputational damage, cost or time wastage.
44. I would be grateful if Fedex and the leadership portray this decision as being what it
is: an honest attempt by me, and at my initiative, to save the party any further
reputational damage, cost or time wastage.
45. However I cannot agree or volunteer to do the same in respect of my current
membership of the DA Provincial caucus and council, given that my attendance at
these bodies is important to my continued involved and proactive leadership of the
Provincial Government and in line with the DA’s goals and objectives, as well as any
other party activities where I am requested to share my expertise and experience to
the benefit of the party.