14 November 2017

South Africa: Charges Withdrawn Against DA Leader Who 'Liked' Facebook Post Calling Zille a Racist

The charges against former Democratic Alliance Youth leader Mbali Ntuli for liking a Facebook post calling Western Cape Premier Helen Zille a racist, have provisionally been withdrawn.

Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, chairperson of the DA's federal legal commission, said the charges for contravening the DA's social media policy had been withdrawn until new representations had been considered.

"We referred the matter to mediation and believe it will be settled soon," Breytenbach told News24 on Tuesday afternoon.

Breytenbach could not clarify when the charges had been withdrawn or what the new representations were.

News24's sister publication City Press reported in May that DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela had laid a complaint against Ntuli after she liked a comment on a Facebook post, dated December 23, which read: "Helen Zille is racist."

On Monday, Ntuli said she had learnt of the case's withdrawal, but "at this moment, I have nothing to say".

Madikizela expressed concern about how the matter had been dealt with.

While Breytenbach maintained that he was informed of the case's withdrawal, Madikizela said he had learnt about it through the media.

Madikizela said he needed "clarity before jumping to conclusions", but questioned whether due process had been followed.

"There is a lot of excitement - a particular narrative being spread [within the DA], and I feel strongly that the same rules should apply to everyone."

Madikizela also believed that the matter had been "dragging on for too long and should've been resolved by now".

"All of us should now be focusing on project 2019 - not internal hearings," he said.

Several DA members have landed in hot water over their social media use, which resulted in the party introducing a strict social media policy.

Zille infamously labelled pupils from the Eastern Cape "education refugees", told popular singer Simphiwe Dana not to be "a professional black", and most recently said colonialism wasn't "only negative".

In 2015, DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard pleaded guilty to breaching the party's social media policy and bringing the party into disrepute after she shared a Facebook post which praised former apartheid president PW Botha.

In 2016, the party revoked KwaZulu-Natal realtor Penny Sparrow's membership after she described black beachgoers as "monkeys".

Source: News24

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