‘It wasn’t an impulsive decision,’ says Jeremy Mansfield about DA backlash

By Nadim Nyker
05 January 2017

He unleashed a Facebook frenzy with his announcement he would run (DA) in the next election – and unfortunately for Jeremy Mansfield, not all of the comments were positive.

He set off a Facebook frenzy with his announcement he would run for the Democratic Alliance (DA) in 2019 – and unfortunately for Jeremy Mansfield, not all of the comments were positive.

His post on Monday garnered a barrage of insults, with critics accusing him of everything from being money hungry to abusing women.

But the former radio and TV personality is taking it in his stride.

“There's some stuff there that I can sue people for, but obviously I’m not going to,” he told YOU.

“But I am used to it – been through it when I was on [Radio] 702 and went through it in my Highveld [Stereo] days. It doesn’t bother me.”

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He's already been a member of the party for two years, he says. But after paying a visit to his long-time friend and DA member of the Provincial Legislature in the Eastern Cape, Ross Purdon, he decided he wanted to take the next step.

His decision to run was not made on impulse, he insists. Jeremy has been in talks with various DA members for the last two years, adding that it was his old school friend Ross who brought him to make the final decision.

It's not yet clear exactly what role Jeremy will take on – the 53-year-old says he's still in talks with the party about the details.

But the former Laugh Out Loud presenter is determined to put his years of experience in the broadcasting industry to good use in government.

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“There are [various] areas I think I can make a difference in,” Jeremy says. “With my experience in broadcasting, I'll try and ensure that the SABC is used as a public broadcaster as opposed to being used to air the voice of the ANC.

“I [also] have a strong root in arts and culture and a passion for animal rights – there's a huge amount of legislation that's not being followed by government.”

Jeremy feels it's time for real change in South Africa.

“There's a huge amount of things I find wrong [with the ANC]. Politically, they're making strategically bad decisions.

“Look at what’s happening right now, when [Solly] Msimanga, the Tshwane mayor goes to Taiwan, they want to charge him for treason because of their One China Policy, but when Ross Davies did it in 2014, nobody did anything.

“There's no alignment in the ANC at the moment. They've lost the core on what the congress was and what it was formed to be – their principals are lost.”

Some critics accused Jeremy on Facebook of getting into politics for the money, but he insists this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, he says he won't accept any earnings from government.

“I can look after myself. I’ve worked very hard and invested very carefully and anything I do make [from government] will go to animal charities.”

In 2011, Jeremy and Jacqui were in Tripoli for seven days trying to save the forgotten animals in the Tripoli Zoo. PHOTO: Archive In 2011, Jeremy and his wife, Jacqui, were in Tripoli for seven days trying to save the abandoned animals in the Tripoli Zoo. PHOTO: Archive

Jeremy and wife Jacqui have been animal rights activists for years and are members of the SPCA.

“But it extends beyond that,” he says. “We wanted to start a campaign which we couldn’t, due to the legal system, known as First Strike.

“It's a proven fact that every single mass killer and rapist in the US started off by abusing animals. So we wanted to institute a system through the magistrates' court called First Strike in which people who abuse [animals] are punished and held accountable.”

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But this didn't stop the barrage of insults on Facebook yesterday – one commenter even compared Jeremy to controversial Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr.

“I don’t sing nearly as well as him,” Jeremy jokes. “Steve is more of an activist. Not to say that there's anything wrong with that, but I feel I'm committing – committing to a party with principals and a leadership.”

But now that he's getting his hands dirty in South African politics, what about his proposed move to Mauritius?

“I was thinking of it [moving] but it was purely for tax reasons. But having made the choice [to stay], I either could sit back and bitch and moan, like many of the people are doing on my Facebook page, or step up to the plate and do something positive about it and make a difference.”

After speaking to YOU, Jeremy was off to meet with the DA's Gauteng provincial chief whip Mike Moriarty on Wednesday evening to discuss his political future further.

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