Affair rocks DA in KZN

2010-10-20 00:00

A HIGH-PROFILE affair scandal has rocked the structures of the Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal. Provincial DA leader and KZN Legislature caucus leader John Steenhuisen (34) announced his resignation yesterday amid allegations that he is involved in an extramarital relationship with a married DA provincial official.

Steenhuisen tendered his resignation in a letter addressed to DA KZN chairperson Greg Krumbock on Monday evening.

In the letter Steenhuisen said he wants to focus on his duties to the party in the KZN Legislature “as well as personal and family matters which have arisen”.

Well-placed sources yesterday confirmed that Steenhuisen has resigned following an affair with popular DA media officer Terry Beaumont (25).

Sources within the DA yesterday confirmed the affair, saying speculation is rife over when it started given that Beaumont was married in May this year to Michael Beaumont, DA provincial director.

“It’s a soap opera,”said a source. “There is suspicion that the relationship between Terry and John began before she got married, but then why would she have married him [Beaumont]?”

Sources described Beaumont as being “impeccably dressed and well-mannered” and said he was “born to be married and a nice guy”.

They added that both Mike Beaumont and Steenhuisen appeared to be stressed yesterday, but were both working hard.

As for the effect the affair could have on the careers of Steenhuisen and Beaumont, speculation is that while this could be disastrous for Steenhuisen’s career, it needn’t destroy it.

“Others have come back after a scandal of this nature. He is a natural-born leader and while he may be sidelined for a while, it won’t be forever. Her career path is perhaps more problematic. She must decide what to do with her life.”

It is believed that Steenhuisen and Beaumont are living together, but this has not been confirmed.

“It will be a difficult domestic set-up. She has just built a home with Mike Beaumont. It’s total upheaval.”

A source said that Michael Beaumont is an “innocent victim” and described Steenhuisen’s wife, Julie, as a “strong person who is an assertive woman in her own right”.

The Steenhuisens have two daughters.

In an interview with The Witness, Steenhuisen declined to comment on allegations about the affair.

“People can speculate as much as they like, but I would stick to my explanation that my resignation is due to personal reasons. My private life is private and everyone deserves some privacy. I need my privacy and there are young kids involved in this …” Steenhuisen said.

“I am staying on as the MPL and as the DA caucus leader in the legislature. I had no conflict with my colleagues within the DA. It’s only personal problems that I want to sort out.

“For the past few months I have stretched myself with work, both in the DA and in the legislature, as well as with some personal commitments.”

Beaumont declined to comment.

Steenhuisen has been married to Julie for 10 years.

He joined the legislature last year after serving as a DA councillor in the eThekwini Metro for the last 10 years. Before he left eThekwini last year he had been elected DA caucus leaderand was also an eThekwini Exco member.

The DA’s deputy leader in the province, Sizwe Mchunu, will be acting leader until the party’s elective conference next year.

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