A fun week in politics: Claws come out in catfights

2016-01-29 11:59
Mmusi Maimane leads a march of DA supporters in Johannesburg. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Mmusi Maimane leads a march of DA supporters in Johannesburg. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - It’s like two women slinging their handbags at each other during a catfight. It’s painful and embarrassing to watch and yet captivating and amusing at the same time. With the local government elections approaching the ANC and DA are letting rip at each other, climbing the moral high ground, dispensing advice to their opponents, while scrambling to deal with the alleged racists and sexists in their own ranks. 

Here is a list of this week’s action:

Monday 

DA Cape Town councillor Sam Pienaar meets a 17:00 deadline to explain to the party why he should not be suspended. He allegedly did not disclose his role in planning the October 1985 “Trojan Horse” shooting of five anti-apartheid activists, including two children. 

ANC Cape Town chief whip Xolani Sotashe says if DA leader Mmusi Maimane is serious about this fighting racism, he should “deal with this guy”. 

“He’s sitting there preaching non-racism, yet his party members have blood on their hands,” Independent Online quoted him as saying.

Tuesday

DA MP Anchen Dreyer warns the ANC it is grabbing at crumbs and playing with fire by using racism accusations as an election strategy.

"They may think they are going to get short-term gain from it, but in the long term it can actually tear the nation apart and I don't think we want to see a race war in this country," she says on the sidelines of a committee meeting in Parliament.

The ANC criticised her after a photo surfaced of her posing next to a cardboard cutout of president of the South African Republic Paul Kruger during an event on October 10 last year. She is holding a sign with the words "Lekker verjaar [Happy birthday] Oom Paul!".

The previous week, ANC chief whip spokesperson Moloto Mothapo called her photo an “unashamed glorification and admiration of such a reprehensible figure”. It was a tacit endorsement of the heinous crimes against humanity Kruger perpetrated against black South Africans, he said.

Wednesday

The DA paints the town blue during a march for jobs in central Johannesburg.

"If you had to ask Zuma right now where the jobs were, he would reply by saying 'hehe'," DA leader Mmusi Maimane told the crowd, mimicking the president's laugh.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa plays the race card and says: "The DA, in pursuit of its racist agenda, chose to take advantage of the poverty confronting our people by using them as pawns to further the interests of white minority who were not even visible in their march."

Thursday

ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman is told to step down pending an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him. A woman accused him of sexual harassment while they travelled to the North West for the ANC's birthday rally in Rustenburg earlier this month.

He insists that he has not been suspended but merely asked to take time off.

The DA says it is the first step to the party ridding its Western Cape structures of criminality. It calls on the ANC to take action against others in the province such as MP Bongani Mkongi, who called on people to burn down the Cape Town building from which the “Zuma Must Fall” banner was hung.

Also in its sights is Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince who asked that a tender be given to a construction company which was "sympathetic and having a relationship with the ANC".

"Until such time as all criminal acts and allegations are taken seriously by the ANC, it will be seen for what it is: an organisation that protects and fosters criminal conduct," the DA says.

The DA caucus in the City of Cape Town signs an anti-racism pledge which acknowledges apartheid as evil.

"I reject discrimination in all its forms, and pledge to help root it out wherever I encounter it in South Africa. I will not perpetuate racial division, and will never undermine the dignity of my fellow South Africans,” it reads in part.

The Western Cape ANC pickets outside the DA council's offices in the Civic Centre, demanding it fire councillor Sam Pienaar.

DA spokesperson Mabine Seabe denies rumours that the party paid people R100 to join its march for jobs. He says they paid traders R100 to compensate them for loss of income after they had to move their stalls to make way for the stage that was erected for the event in central Johannesburg.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa is shocked.

"The African National Congress is shocked on how desperate and low the DA has stooped to score hollow political points, by abusing our people who are enticed to marches for a mere R100,” he says.

Friday

In what is sure to raise the ANC’s anti-racism heckles, the Mail & Guardian reports that DA leader Mmusi Maimane has been taking leadership lessons from apartheid-era president FW de Klerk.

Mmusi tells News24 it is an "outrageous lie" while De Klerk said in a statement there was no truth to the rumours and that Maimane has "never been to my home and never sought my advice".



Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  politics

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