The Democratic Alliance’s decision to keep Dianne Kohler Barnard in Parliament showed the party’s true colours, the African National Congress said on Tuesday.
It said it was disturbed, but not surprised, by the outcome of Kohler Barnard’s appeal against her expulsion.
“[It was] a hopeless attempt to dupe the public into believing that the party has changed and is intolerant to racism within its ranks,” ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said.
A five-member panel of the party’s federal legal commission on Tuesday suspended her expulsion from the party until the end of the fifth Parliament in 2019, with conditions.
These included a R20 000 fine to be paid to an NGO involved in reconciliation work, losing all positions within the party except that of MP, and attending a presentation on the responsible use of social media.
“The public cannot be fooled, we all knew that it was only a matter of time before the real DA – the racist, apartheid apologist and defender of white supremacy – once again showed its true colours,” Mothapo said.
Overturning Kohler Barnard’s expulsion showed that party leader Mmusi Maimane was a “glorified figurehead, with no influence”.
“His sudden ascension to the so-called ‘first black leader of the DA’, has done nothing to transform the party and its image as a racist party still yearning for the return of the apartheid minority rule.”
The ANC said it would consider reporting Kohler Barnard to Parliament’s ethics committee.
The DA said in a statement: “The internal procedures of the party have been fully tested and have demonstrated, not only that the procedures work, but also a commitment to transparent and accountable internal governance.”
Kohler Barnard’s DA membership was terminated at the end of October after she shared a Facebook post from journalist Paul Kirk, in which he praised former apartheid president PW Botha.
“Please come back PW Botha – you were far more honest than any of these [African National Congress] rogues, and you provided a far better service to the public,” it read.
She pleaded guilty to breaching the party’s social media policy and bringing it into disrepute.
In November, she lodged a notice of intention to appeal the expulsion. She said she had not read the post fully before sharing it. News24