DA MP Mnqasela apologises, charges to be dropped

2012-05-15 07:38

Rebel DA MP Masizole Mnqasela has apologised unconditionally to the DA for remarks he had made in the run-up to the party’s elections for a new parliamentary caucus in October last year.

But he made it clear that he did not appreciate being called “Verwoerdian” by DA party leader Helen Zille when she hit back at him.

Mnqasela’s apology is set to end the disciplinary proceedings the party instituted against him almost six months ago on six counts of misconduct after he wrote a document insinuating that Lindiwe Mazibuko was not black enough to lead the party in Parliament.

He also accused Zille of running the DA like a “spaza shop”.

There were also allegations that he had abused his position as MP by asking the Western Cape province to award a tender to a company he was linked to.

Chairperson of the DA’s federal executive James Selfe said last night the body decided at its meeting earlier this month that this apology was sufficient, and it was awaiting Mnqasela’s response to its letter in which it outlined the conditions on which the charges against him would be dropped.

Only after that would the process be finalised.

Selfe said it was possible to drop the charges now because there was some distance from the incident.

“As time moves on, people move on from the issues,” he told City Press.

In his letter of apology, which City Press has obtained, Mnqasela said he had been “through a rollercoaster of emotions” since the charges were brought against him.

He said he could not “ever recall a more turbulent and troubled time in my political association with the DA”.

He said he was committed to help build the party “to become a realistic alternative government to the ANC and my resolve in this regard is undiminished despite this very difficult situation”.

He said the time that had elapsed since the caucus elections “has given me time to reflect on my actions and utterances”.

Mnqasela said he wished to apologise to the party and to its leader, Zille, as well as to Mazibuko.

Mnqasela said during a radio show in the run-up to the caucus elections that listening to Mazibuko was like listening to a white person speak, but he explained in his letter he was guided by a story by a journalist who said listening to DA MP Athol Trollip speak Xhosa was “like having a conversation with a Xhosa-speaking black person”.

Mnqasela said: “I failed at the time to recognise the differences in this comment from what I had said and felt I was being unfairly targeted for similar sentiments.” He added he regretted any offence caused to Mazibuko.

Mnqasela also said he would subject himself to a process of mediation with Western Cape MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, whose position he is said to have wanted in exchange for switching support from Trollip to Mazibuko.

The DA, in a letter signed by Selfe and obtained by City Press, said in response Zille and Mazibuko have agreed to withdraw their complaints against him and they have accepted his apology.

It also said Mnqasela should agree that his letter of apology be released to the media.

Selfe also said in the letter “the federal executive asked me to convey to you that it regarded your alleged actions in a very serious light, which is why it referred the matter to the federal legal commission in the first place”.

He said the federal executive “rejects any suggestion that you were merely exercising ‘freedom of speech’ in relation to your preferences in the caucus election”.

As a DA public representative Mnqasela does “not have the freedom publicly to contradict the DA’s principles and values”.

He asked that Mnqasela “refrain from any similar action in future”.

Sunday Times reported that provincial leaders such as the Western Cape’s Theuns Botha, the Eastern Cape’s Trollip, Gauteng’s John Moodey and Selfe argued it would be damaging to the party to pursue charges against Mnqasela.

Mnqasela failed to respond to queries.

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