Dianne Kohler Barnard

Dianne Kohler Barnard

JOHANNESBURG. — The office of the ANC chief whip wants DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard fired from Parliament following a post she shared on Facebook praising PW Botha.

“The Office of the ANC chief whip in Parliament is outraged, but not surprised, by yet another DA public representative’s shameless racism and nostalgic endorsement of the apartheid era rule,” spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

“It is in this vein that Kohler-Barnard’s racist conduct, although outrageous and utterly repulsive, does not surprise us as racism and white supremacy form the core DNA of the DA,” he added.

“A person who holds such backward, dangerous and racially divisive views cannot continue to serve in this democratic Parliament,” said ANC parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane earlier yesterday said the party would take disciplinary action against Kohler Barnard for the Facebook post.

“We don’t support any views which welcome PW Botha, we certainly don’t associate ourselves with a perpetrator of evil against South Africans,” he told News24.

Kohler Barnard said she shared a post on Facebook two weeks ago about KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen but said she failed to notice that in the middle of the post it said: “Please come back PW Botha — you were far more honest than any of these ANC rogues, and you provided a far better service to the public . . .”

The outspoken DA MP said she was alerted to it by her KwaZulu-Natal leader and deleted the post immediately and apologised.

The screen grab of the post resurfaced on Twitter yesterday morning.

She said she had apologised on Twitter and would continue to apologise for sharing the post.

Mothapo said if the DA was serious about ridding itself of its “public reputation as a refuge for racists and white supremacists still longing for the return of apartheid rule” it would fire Kohler Barnard from Parliament.

“Failure to fire her would continue to give rise to the observation that the DA is an apartheid party that uses black people to window dress its deep seated racism and white supremacy,” he said.

Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi has weighed in on the furore surrounding the repost that praised Botha saying it has damaged the DA brand but was not different to veteran journalist Allister Sparks comment admiring Hendrik Verwoerd at a DA conference.

Sparks said at the time: “I’ve encountered some really smart politicians, the likes of Harry Lawrence, Bernard Friedman, Margaret Ballinger, Helen Zille, Helen Suzman, Zach de Beer, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, Marais Steyn, Japie Basson and Hendrik Verwoerd.”

Matshiqi said the DA was being expedient in disciplining Kohler Barnard because of the negative effect her repost had on the DA brand.

“What matters is that you have among black South Africans people to whom it reinforces a pre-existing perception that the DA is a party of white interest,” he said.

Matshiqi said one cannot discount the fact that she may have reposted the distasteful post approvingly but apologised only when realising the damage it had to the DA brand.

The ANC has reminded the public that this was not the first time a DA leader was involved in a racist spat.

It drew reference to a DA councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality who two months ago referred to a UDM councillor as “Councillor bobbejaan (baboon)”.

A furore erupted last year after the general elections when DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters tweeted a picture which likened ANC voters to dogs. He had subsequently apologised for it. — News24/Mail&Guardian.