I stand by my vote, says axed DA MP

2013-11-10 14:00

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DA MP Sej Motau has refused to backtrack on his support for a contentious race quota bill that saw his party axe him from his portfolio ­yesterday.

This after furious DA leader Helen Zille blamed him and his deputy, ­Andricus van der Westhuizen, for going against the party’s principles of nonracialism by supporting the ­Employment Equity Amendment Bill in Parliament.

She also blamed a sequence of failures and termed it a “plane crash”.

“It is a very embarrassing turn of events,” a caucus member said. “It is the biggest mistake the caucus has made.”

Despite various DA MPs insisting there are no ideological differences between party members on whether affirmative action should be race based, Motau told City Press he stood by his vote. He declined to comment further.

But Van der Westhuizen blamed poor caucus communications for the mistake.

Zille said Motau had not spoken to her about his stance, but said “he is a valued colleague”. “Incidentally, he has traditionally been to my right on this issue, so the whole thing puzzles me. I will have a long chat to him next week.”

In a statement last Saturday, parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the DA supported the equity bill “because we believe in the need to create an inclusive economy”. But she added the party didn’t agree “with all the clauses in the bill”.

Zille had apparently by then ­already written her statement ­explaining events leading to the “plane crash”, but only submitted this to the caucus on Thursday.

Motau and Van der Westhuizen yesterday swopped places with Kenneth Mubu and Haniff Hoosen, who were previously the party’s spokespeople for economic development.

The DA will also oppose the bill in its current form when it comes before the national council of provinces.

In a memorandum to the caucus in May, Zille clarified the DA’s policy on BEE and affirmative action. She was then “very angry” during a four-hour DA caucus meeting on Thursday.

Neither Motau nor Van der Westhuizen said a word, a caucus member said, adding that all other caucus members were agreed on the DA’s stance against the bill.

In the meeting Zille also apparently blamed DA chief whip Watty Watson, who failed to convene whip groups to debate the party’s stance on the bill. Watson declined to comment yesterday, except to say it was “nothing cynical”.

One caucus member said this has aggravated underlying tensions ­between Zille and Mazibuko over who is in charge of caucus.

However, Zille denied this, saying: “I don’t think it has created tensions ... We both agree on what went wrong, we agree on the measures to fix it and we both accepted responsibility for it.”

Mazibuko couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.

DA correspondence on equity bill

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