The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has acknowledged Western Cape Premier, Hellen Zille’s unreserved apology over her colonialism tweets but cautioned that any utterances of such an insensitive nature, must at all times be avoided as this totally undermines all efforts that have been championed so far to foster a spirit of social cohesion in South Africa.
On Tuesday the Democratic Alliance (DA) announced that Zille will vacate all positions she currently holds on all decision making structures of the party, including the federal executive, federal council and provincial council.
“The very context within which the tweets were made is purely insensitive and derogatory and for this reason, FEDUSA welcomes the ruling by the DA to have the Premier removed from all decision – making structures within the party and would similarly encourage all political parties to apply the same principle of implementing punitive measures against all individuals who bring the party into disrepute and cause harm by sowing deep division amongst our citizens,” said FEDUSA Acting General Secretary Riefdah Ajam.
Zille was placed on suspension last week and charged with bringing the party into disrepute for her tweets defending certain aspects of colonialism. A leader Mmusi Maimane said the decision to retain Zille as Western Cape Premier was a difficult one but was taken in the interest of party unity.
“This has not been an easy decision and I think the alternative would be for us as a party to be embroiled in a protracted legal battle in the lead up towards the 2019 election. I have no doubt that this, in fact, would have caused further damage into the organisation,” Maimane said.
Ajam said it was absolutely regrettable and unjustifiable that as an accountable and senior government official, Premier Zille still chose to continue with her tweets.
“All government officials should remain steadfast in fostering a spirit of nation building and advancing the principles of Ubuntu. As a key government figure Zille should have been more sensitive and not make utterances that would open wounds of the country’s divided past,” concluded Ajam.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
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