Dianne Kohler Barnard

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Dianne Kohler Barnard

Dianne Kohler Barnard DA MP.jpg
Shadow Minister of Police
In office
Leader Tony Leon
Helen Zille
Mmusi Maimane
Preceded by ???
Succeeded by Zakhele Mbhele
Shadow Minister of Health
In office
Leader Tony Leon
Shadow Minister of Arts and Culture
In office
Leader Tony Leon
Member of Parliament
for KwaZulu-Natal
Assumed office
21 May 2004
Personal details
Born 2 december 1955 (age 61)
Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, Union of South Africa
Nationality South African
Political party Democratic Alliance

Dianne Kohler Barnard is a South African politician and former journalist, and a Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance (DA). In October 2015 she was expelled from the party by the DA Federal Executive. In December 2015 the decision was lifted on appeal to the DA's Federal Legal Commission.[1]

She was born in Port Elizabeth,[2] and currently resides in KwaZulu-Natal, where she represents the Durban South constituency.[3]

Career in journalism

Kohler Barnard spent 23 years working as a radio and print journalist. She ran the KwaZulu-Natal offices of SAfm and also presented/produced the station's afternoon news programme The Editors.

Kohler Barnard is also the former chairperson of the Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union in KwaZulu-Natal, and was a founder member of the inaugural SABC HIV/Aids Committee.[2]


Kohler-Barnard moved to politics in response to increasing state interference in the management of the SABC. She was elected to parliament with the DA in 2004, and was initially spokesperson on Arts and Culture.[4]

She was subsequently appointed opposition spokesperson on Health, and was a vocal critic of incumbent Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, particularly over her support for controversial German vitamin salesman Matthias Rath. Rath attempted to sue Kohler Barnard for describing him as a "charlatan", and also tried to sue newspapers that carried the remark.[5]

Subsequently, Kohler Barnard was appointed as Shadow Minister of Police. She was also the DA's representative on the SADC observer mission to Zimbabwe for the last two elections in that country.[2]

Following a scandal (see below), she was shifted to the position of deputy spokesperson on Public Works in 2015. She was returned to the Police portfolio, but this time as Deputy Shadow Minister, in August 2017.[6]

Internal DA Disciplinary Controversy

Kohler Barnard was almost expelled from the DA in October 2015, when it emerged that she had controversially shared on her Facebook page a post from someone else suggesting that life in South Africa was better under former apartheid President PW Botha. She deleted it after it was on her site overnight. It appeared on Twitter as shared by the ANC some weeks later. Although it had long since been deleted on FB one of the first instructions[7] to Kohler Barnard to delete the post came from former DA leader Helen Zille, who seemed to be under the impression that the post had been shared recently.[8][7][9] Kohler Barnard apologised unreservedly for her action,[10] and was subsequently demoted to the position of shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works.[11]

New DA party leader Mmusi Maimane came under pressure to expel her from the party.[12] The disciplinary panel apparently recommended that Kohler Barnard be fined R20,000, be removed from all internally elected DA positions, pay for public apologies in 5 newspapers and attend a social media management course at her own expense.[13][14] Following this, Kohler Barnard's membership of the DA was terminated by the DA Federal Executive.[15] She then appealed the decision to the DA Federal Legal Commission, as a result of which her expulsion was suspended for a period of 5 years.[16][17]

The controversy undoubtedly harmed the image of the DA, which has been trying to project itself as an anti-apartheid party[18][19], and also caused some serious internal tension, as some have viewed the original decisions as harsh.[20]

A media report in 2016 indicated that Kohler Barnard may not have complied with all of the various sanctions placed on her by the due date.[21]


  1. ^ http://ewn.co.za/2015/12/22/Kohler-Barnards-expulsion-lifted
  2. ^ a b c "Dianne Kohler Barnard".
  3. ^ "Contact – DA in Your Area: KwaZulu-Natal".
  4. ^ "Ms Dianne Kohler Barnard".
  5. ^ "Rath sues Cape Times over alleged 'offensive' remarks".
  6. ^ https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/kohler-barnard-returns-as-shadow-deputy-police-minister-20170831
  7. ^ a b https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&v=IGfHLDEnk5w
  8. ^ https://www.enca.com/south-africa/maimane-says-kohler-barnard-facebook-post-will-be-investigated
  9. ^ Gia Nicolaides. "DA MP faces disciplinary action for PW Botha post". ewn.co.za.
  10. ^ "Kohler Barnard to face internal disciplinary action". Business Day Live.
  11. ^ "DA 'demotes' Dianne Kohler Barnard". News24.
  12. ^ Justice Malala. "Why DA leader Mmusi Maimane has to throw Kohler Barnard under the bus". Rand Daily Mail.
  13. ^ http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2015/10/11/Kohler-Barnard-faces-bills-of-a-different-sort
  14. ^ http://citizen.co.za/817630/dismiss-da-mp-dianne-kohhler-barnard-says-anc/
  15. ^ http://ewn.co.za/2015/10/30/DA-terminated-Kohler-Barnards-membership
  16. ^ http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2015/12/22/Dianne-Kohler-Barnard-back-in-the-DA-after-expulsion-is-lifted
  17. ^ http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/dianne-kohler-barnard-back-in-the-da
  18. ^ http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2015/10/20/da-must-cleanse-itself-from-racists-starting-with-cyberfarting-kohler-barnard
  19. ^ http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-05-14-know-your-da-a-tale-of-two-helens/#.VioP9KSX87B
  20. ^ http://beta.iol.co.za/ios/news/dumped-kohlerbarnard-to-fight-back-1938617
  21. ^ http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/kohler-barnard-deflects-sanctions-questions-2021809

Offices held

Political offices
Preceded by
James Masango
South African Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Roy Jankielsohn
South African Shadow Minister of Police
Succeeded by
Zakhele Mbhele
Preceded by
Ryan Coetzee
South African Shadow Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Gareth Morgan
Preceded by
Sydney Opperman
South African Shadow Minister of Arts and Culture
Succeeded by
Desiree van der Walt
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