Affair hasn’t hurt MP John Steenhuisen at No. 6 on DA’s list for KZN

2014-03-14 00:00

CONTROVERSIAL DA MP John Steenhuisen, who caused quite a stir when he was involved in an extra-marital relationship with a married party official in 2010, is set to return to Parliament.

The DA’s shadow Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs stands at number six on the parliamentary list for the DA in KwaZulu-Natal.

At the time of the scandal he resigned as the DA’s KZN legislature caucus leader when it emerged that he had an affair with then party media officer Terry Beaumont, who was married to then DA provincial director Michael Beaumont. Steenhuisen had at the time been married for 10 years to Julie and had two daughters.

Yesterday, Steenhuisen could not be reached on his cellphone, which went unanswered.

But DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu defended Steenhuisen’s nomination. “I don’t know why people judge a person on the basis of marital status,” he said.

Mchunu also said Steenhuisen’s infidelity was a personal and a private matter. “It is not a case of corruption. There is not much you can do when it is personal and private,’ Mchunu insisted.

“I am not aware of him facing criminal, money laundering and corruption charges. Those are the cases you find in the ANC,” he said, before giving examples of members who were nominated in the ANC with clouds over their heads. “It would be unfair to group John with those people,” he added.

He said members who were likely to be elected were asked to choose which list they wanted to be on.

Independent political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said it was not surprising that the DA was quick to point to skeletons in the ANC closet when it in fact has its own.

He said it was normal for the DA to see nothing wrong in having one of their members, AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, admit to smoking dagga. “The DA only sees the lack of morality in the ruling party or in government,” he said.

Fikeni said the DA was not as vocal when it came to corruption when it took place in the private sector and when construction companies fixed prices. He also said the double standards in speaking out against corruption by some of the DA’s members could be seen when the party commented on an ANC reaction to public protector and court rulings. The implication was that the ANC was not in support of the rule of law, Fikeni said.

The Democratic Alliance has been scathing in its criticism of some on the ANC’s list candidates.

This week the party’s Dianne Kohler Barnard raised the alarm at the nomination of former police commissioner Bheki Cele, who tops the ANC candidate list for KZN province to national.

In a statement, Kohler Barnard said Cele has been the subject of two damning reports by the Moloi Police Board of Inquiry and the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Her statements came after DA federal chairperson James Selfe questioned the choice of the ANC in nominating several candidates who were either implicated in corruption or violated the Cabinet ethics code and those found guilty by the courts but were given suspended sentences.

“We never compromise on the standards of our candidates to the National Assembly — we select only the best, because we want to deliver on our election promises to all South Africans,” Selfe said.

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