16/03/2017 20:03 SAST | Updated 16/03/2017 20:26 SAST

Tony Leon: Kohler Barnard Is The Precedent For Zille

'It's not ideal to have a serious discussion on colonialism in 140 characters.'

Former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon

Former Democratic Alliance (DA) party boss Tony Leon called the storm around Helen Zille an "unneeded distraction" from current events.

"I imagine it's not ideal to have a serious discussion on colonialism in 140 characters," Leon told the Huffington Post South Africa.

Western Cape Premier Zille tweeted support for aspects of colonialism on Thursday morning and ran into a storm of criticism, with opposition parties calling for her removal and her own party boss, Mmusi Maimane, saying it would be referred to the party's disciplinary structures.

"I do not involve myself in the inner workings of the DA. The party did, whatever the merits of the decision, establish a legal precedent in the Dianne Kohler Barnard matter and so I assume that will be applied in this case," said Leon.

DA MP Kohler Barnard had shared a Facebook post calling for the return of apartheid-era president PW Botha; she was initially expelled from the party by the DA then reinstated but demoted.

"All I would observe is that this appears to be an unneeded distraction from the party's core business and the current matters gripping the country," said Leon.