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DA leaders wait for party to rule on Zille's fate

Some of the DA's most vocal leaders are treading carefully on whether former party leader Helen Zille should be expelled following her controversial tweets on colonialism.

Outspoken DA leader and MP Masizole Mnqasela, who in 2011 accused Zille of running the DA like a spaza shop, and DA KwaZulu-Natal legislature caucus spokeswoman and former DA youth leader Mbali Ntuli, who had a fallout with Zille two years ago, have decided to sit on the fence on the furore. They have effectively thrown the ball into the hands of the party's federal legal commission to determine her fate.

This is despite party leader Mmusi Maimane using the Human Rights Day commemoration in Sharpeville on Tuesday to hit out at Zille, who has been accused by some DA leaders of reversing the gains the party and the country have made so far.

Last week, Zille offended many black people when she tweeted that "for those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water, etc. Would we have had a transition into specialised health care and medication without colonial influence? Just be honest, please."

She later apologised. Zille, the Western Cape premier, is to face the DA's disciplinary committee for violating the party's social media policy.

Mnqasela, speaking for the first time on the debacle, told Sowetan yesterday he had confidence the party systems would deal with the matter.

Ntuli would only say "unfortunately I am unable to comment on the matter as it is currently being processed by the federal legal committee".

The DA's student organisation (Daso) leader Yusuf Cassim said the party was distancing itself from Zille's tweet.

"Neither Daso nor the DA youth believe there have been any benefits from colonialism for those that were colonised.

"We ... are confident that the party's disciplinary process will be executed fairly and will reaffirm the values of the DA."

Attempts to get a comment from Zille drew a blank.

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