Mmusi Maimane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

THE African National Congress’s (ANC’s) Parliamentary caucus has taken Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane up on his offer to revoke the membership of racists in his party by challenging him to remove opposition MP Anchen Dreyer.

The third racially charged exchange between the two parties came on Friday, days after Mr Maimane delivered a speech in Johannesburg during which he said the DA had no place for racists and that members who were found to be racist would have their membership revoked.

The DA has also lodged a complaint with the joint committee on ethics and members interests against ANC MP Bongani Mkongi, who called for a building which bore a billboard reading "Zuma Must Fall" to be burnt down, along with its occupants.

Ms Dreyer was pictured attending a celebration of former president Paul Kruger late last year. In images that went viral online, Ms Dreyer could be seen standing next to a life-size cardboard cutout of the colonial leader with a sign which read "lekker verjaar Oom Paul (happy birthday Uncle Paul)".

ANC parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo said in a statement that Ms Dreyer’s "unashamed admiration" of Mr Kruger was an endorsement of the crimes his regime committed against black South Africans.

"Anyone who regards Kruger as a hero is also a racist who shares all that he stood for, including a belief that Blacks are inferior savages who deserve the untold suffering they endured for many years under colonialism and apartheid," Mr Mothapo said.

Mr Mothapo challenged Maimane to punish Ms Dreyer, comparing to her fellow DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who drew flack for sharing a Facebook post that said life was better under apartheid rule.

"He now has an opportunity to fulfil the bold commitments he made before the entire nation," said Mr Mothapo. "The question is will he fulfil his ambitious undertaking and immediately kick out Dreyer, or will he confirm our belief that his speech was nothing but a meaningless gimmick?"

DA spokeswoman Phumzile Van Damme released her own statement in which she said Mr Mothapo’s remarks were a "desperate" ploy to "divide SA along racial lines".

"SA has a rich and complex history, which cannot be wished away. Rather, the injustices of the past must be recognised and learnt from. And those who violated the rights of our fellow South Africans must be remembered for that crime too," Ms Van Damme said.

Ms Van Damme said Mr Mothapo’s remarks only sought to harden South Africans in stances which serve to impede reconciliation.

"The ANC has clearly given up on this important project, determined to dictate how history should be remembered. This is because they continue to lose electoral support rapidly, and are clutching at every straw to once again gain relevance in the lives of the millions of South Africans they have let down," she said.

The DA had to discipline an ordinary member, Penny Sparrow earlier this year for likening black people to monkeys.