DA's John Moodey calls on party to investigate Helen Zille for apartheid tweets

24 June 2020 - 14:31
DA Gauteng leader John Moodey had harsh words for Helen Zille over her 'apartheid tweets'.
Image: Sunday Times DA Gauteng leader John Moodey had harsh words for Helen Zille over her 'apartheid tweets'.

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey has backed calls for the party to investigate Helen Zille's controversial tweets about apartheid.

The senior leader says  the chairperson of the party's federal council has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a leader of the DA.

This was contained in communication sent out to public representatives and other party members after yet another party row stemming from Zille’s tweets.

In the tweets the former party leader said that the last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, “decided to dismantle apartheid. If he hadn’t, the ANC would still be bogged down in the mess of its so-called Liberation camps and infighting. They had no viable armed struggle to speak of.”

Zille also said that today’s laws are worse than the apartheid ones. Moodey said Zille’s tweets were wrong and misguided.

“As a South African and DA Gauteng leader I wish to express my disappointment and disapproval of the recent tweets sent out by Helen Zille. She does not speak on my behalf. I previously defended De Klerk when there was a call to have him stripped of his Nobel prize, because I recognised his contribution to bringing about a peaceful transition to democracy in SA.

“However, he alone did not dismantle apartheid, to an end. Helen is wrong and misguided to state that SA has more racists laws now than during apartheid. This speaks of ignorance and superiority and is very hurtful to the majority of our citizens,” Moodey wrote in the brief statement.

“These statements bring back painful memories and open old wounds, both of which I had hoped to have forgotten. This conduct is not what I would have expected from a senior leader of the DA and in the current political environment. It is wrong, insensitive and indefensible. She is causing more harm to social cohesion and damaging the DA brand.

“I support the call from many aggrieved DA members who have made a call for her behaviour to be investigated by the federal legal commission of the DA.”

The provincial leader – who has also availed himself for the position of party leader - told the Sunday Times that he would not be lodging a complaint with the federal legal commission given that a number of his colleagues already had and that he would instead support their efforts.

Moodey’s calls for Zille to be dealt with follows hot on the heels of those of KZN MPL Mbali Ntuli, who has also thrown her hat in the ring for party leader.

DA MP Hlanganani Gumbi  and Gauteng MPL Khume Ramulifho have filed a formal complaint against Zille with the party on Tuesday.

Ntuli tweeted that she had joined the race so that, “people can get an alternative view of the DA. It’s because I do not think anybody that can seriously say that SA post 1994 is more racist than apartheid can be reasoned with”.

Ntuli also tweeted interim party leader John Steenhuisen that Zille should be thanked for her service and retire.

Other MPs who have publicly commented on the matter include Phumzile van Damme and Siviwe Gwarube.

Van Damme responded to a tweet saying, “I don’t know why the attacks turn to black DA public reps when someone in the DA tweets something crazy. Go to the correct people ask @jsteenhuisen, he is the interim leader. He distanced the party from something Gana said a while back & I’m sure he’ll do the same here.”

Van Damme on Wednesday also got into it with Zille on Twitter, where she responded to her, saying, “you tweet outrageous things and then back pedal. Not a single person who read your tweet understood it to mean this. And this is not the first time you have publicly cast aspersions on my character. I saw your call, but since you raised this publicly. I want to discuss it here also.”

In a series of tweets Van Damme then said that reporting Zille to the party’s federal legal commission would amount to nothing. “We all know what our disciplinary processes have become.” 

Also responding to a tweet asking if she shared Zille’s views, Gwarube tweeted, “No. apartheid - a legalised system that institutionalised racism; saw thousands get imprisoned/ die at the hands of the state; declared a crime against humanity - can never be compared with democratic SA, no matter how much is wrong with SA today. I don’t hold that view. Mna.”