Signs of discord in local DA

2013-08-05 00:00

THERE is apparent discord in the Midlands branch of the Democratic Alliance (DA). This came to light after a commission of inquiry was held last week to sniff out who had leaked information to the media that ANC stalwart and former Msunduzi deputy mayor Mervin Dirks was in talks about joining the DA.

Party insiders were surprised at the apparent witch-hunt, believing the incident, which happened in January, was water under the bridge. The commission sat on Monday and Tuesday last week in the DA parliamentary caucus office. For some within the party it appears that member may be turning on member as the jostling for positions begins ahead of next year’s national and provincial elections. For others, the commission has served to confirm what they had suspected all along: that there were indeed talks about Dirks’s joining the DA.

The Witness reported at the time that Dirks had scotched speculation that he was going to move to the DA. He has since gone on to become active in ANC structures in the northern suburbs. This was after community newspaper Galaxy said that Dirks was to cross the floor. The leak apparently came from disgruntled party members who wanted to stop negotiations to get Dirks to join the party.

The commission’s terms of reference include establishing the source, methods and person/s responsible for the leak of information regarding Dirks’s potential DA membership to the media.

It seems that stalwart DA member and Msunduzi councillor Bill Lambert also came in for a drubbing at the commission. Lambert invited DA national spokesperson and deputy federal chairperson Mmusi Maimane to visit Pietermaritzburg. The commission sought to establish whether there was any breach in party protocols in the manner in which Maimane was invited and why not all members of the party’s local leadership were invited to a breakfast and meeting with the national chairperson.

Contacted yesterday, Lambert confirmed that he had invited Maimane to address the Msunduzi caucus in February. He said he could not comment on the commission as it was sub judice.

The DA’s KZN provincial leader, Sizwe Mchunu, also refused to comment. Mchunu said that such issues were internal matters of the party, “and we try and keep them as such”.

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