Helen Zille’s provided 45 reasons Why She Should Not Be Suspended From The DA!
1. In our leader’s statement on the same date, he announced that the Fedex had taken
a decision to suspend me. This contradicted the contents of your letter to me, which
gave me until 6 June to respond to the notice of Fedex’s intention to suspend me.
When I pointed this out, the announcement by our leader was amended to say I
would be given 72 hours to respond, and that I had NOT in fact been suspended. It is
clear, however, that he has pre-judged and taken a decision to suspend me.
2. On 4 June the Sunday Times reported that the entire Fedex had already voted on this
issue and hence pre-judged it. Upon checking this matter with individual members
of Fedex it was confirmed that the vote was on whether I should be suspended, not
whether I should be given 72 hours to give reasons why I should not be suspended.
In addition, I am advised that there was no proper time given to properly discuss this
matter, and that the usual procedures were not followed. It would seem that the
discussion was rushed to fit in with the timing of the press conference, and that a
pre-prepared press statement was ready, indicating that the discussion at the
meeting was a mere formality before making the announcement at the press
3. This initial material failure to comply with due process has serious implications. The
leader has, in a public statement, made it clear that he wants me suspended and has
already decided to suspend me. This puts the Fedex in an impossible position to
make an objective determination, whatever the merits of my arguments against
suspension. In any event, Fedex has equally compromised itself on this decision.
4. Even if the Fedex were to support my arguments (set out below), on their merits,
they will be aware that this will be seen as a public repudiation of the leadership’s
wishes, which they will probably seek to avoid. The failure to observe due
constitutional process in terms of section 3.6.3 of the DA constitution, has rendered
the exercise of my right to representation hollow, as there is little chance of the DA
Fedex publicly embarrassing the leader through being influenced by the legality of
my submission, no matter how cogent it is.
5. You, in your capacity as chairperson of the Federal Executive, have stated publicly
that clause 3.6.3 of the Federal Constitution refers to “Termination or Suspension of
Membership”. However, a reading of clause 3.6.3 unambiguously refers to the
substance of the decision that the Fedex took relating to me. It is therefore of direct
relevance to this submission, and you cannot rely on the headline of the section to
nullify its applicability. The fact that you appear to have done so compounds the
unlawfulness of the decision to suspend me.
6. There is even further evidence that the offer of 72 hours to submit reasons for why I
should not be suspended is a sham. A report that appeared on the News24 website
reads: “Shortly after [the leader’s initial announcement], the DA released a
statement saying that Zille had in fact been given 72 hours to make representations,
but members of the federal executive told City Press that the “notice was a mere
technicality as the meeting had already resolved to suspend her”. Given this,
together with the report in the Sunday Times where the votes of actual Fedex
members vis-a-vis a decision to suspend are listed; and that the DA has not denied or
repudiated these reports, it is reasonable to assume their contents are true and
render any decision on this matter by the Fedex reviewable for this reason alone.
7. The above amount to serious breaches of the party’s constitution, which is not the
first time this has occurred in respect of the Party’s dealings with me in this matter.
Given these facts, I am entitled to question whether there is any chance that the
current Fedex is going to apply its mind objectively to the question of whether to
suspend me, on the basis of this submission.
8. For the sake of completeness, I repeat here that the Fedex has violated our
constitution before, by rejecting out of hand the MANDATORY requirement for
mediation in my matter. Given that so many black South Africans have expressed
exactly the same views on the legacy of colonialism as I have (only in more forceful
terms) and given that the DA has never raised any concerns about these views, let
alone repudiated them, and has no written policy on the matter, I drew the
conclusion that a contributing reason to my being charged is the fact that I am not
black. Other events of the past few months have led me and others to the
conclusion that, in certain instances, DA members are treated differentially on the
basis of race. This interpretation was given further credence by the approach to two
other disciplinary cases, one involving the social media post of a white member of
the DA, and the other involving social media posts of a black member of the DA. This
latest suspension decision merely reinforces the perception of unequal treatment.
9. In these circumstances I am of the view that the entire process that you have now
asked me to engage in, is both contrary to our constitution and a sham. I have also
been alerted to the fact that there is an orchestrated campaign by “insiders” to
accuse me publicly of obstructing the direction set by the current leadership,
complemented by a public campaign involving a network of individuals to call on me
to resign. This is a concerted effort to divert attention from the real cause of the
problems the party is facing.
10. In order to avoid this myth being perpetuated, and despite the procedural flaws and
constitutional violations already committed in this matter, I hereby provide reasons
as to why I should not be suspended from participating in the party structures and
activities where I currently serve, pending the final determination of the charges I
B Re: Grounds for intention to suspend
11. In your letter, you refer to four factors that have been taken into account in Fedex’s
12. The first and third focus on the alleged seriousness of the matter, and the “need for
the Party to demonstrate” this. In response to this aspect I submit that although I
believe that the situation in which the DA finds itself over this matter is extremely
serious, I do not believe that the charges justify the need to suspend me summarily
or subvert our Constitution to the extent that Fedex has already done. Indeed, this
will only compound the seriousness of the matter for the party. On the face of it,
and based on other correspondence received, the motivation to suspend me now
seems to be based more on a sense of vindictiveness because I have resisted
attempts to make me accept a guilty verdict and a punishment — before a hearing
even takes place.