DA leader quits over sex scandal

2010-10-24 10:09

KwaZulu-Natal DA leader John Steenhuisen, who resigned this week over an affair with party provincial spokesperson Terry Kass-Beaumont, is to divorce his wife of 10 years.

Steenhuisen said: “I can ­confirm that I am going through a divorce. I don’t want to go into more detail.”

A rising star in the party, Steenhuisen moved to the legislature last year after a ­successful 10-year stint as DA leader in the eThekwini ­municipality.

Last Sunday, he shared a ­platform with DA ­leader Helen Zille at a rally in Lindelani, north of Durban.

He and Kass-Beaumont (25) are understood to have had a ­relationship for some time, even before she married DA ­official Mike Beaumont in May.

“This has been going on for ages,” said a DA official who asked not to be named. “It was only a matter of time before it became public.”

On Monday, Steenhuisen ­announced his resignation and his intention to stay on both as an MPL and caucus leader.

“This was a decision I took myself. It was not a decision I was forced to take.

“I believe it is in the best ­interests of the ­party and ­myself,” he said.

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

In the letter, Steenhuisen said he wanted to focus on his duties to the party in the KZN legislature “as well as personal and family matters”.

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

Kass-Beaumont this week went to ground, with the ­voicemail message on her ­cellphone saying that she was on “personal leave for the next few weeks”.

The ANC in the province has weighed in on the issue, saying: “There has been a deafening ­silence from the media that has followed the news that one of the senior provincial DA leaders was recently caught in a ­compromising position with ­another man’s wife.

“It will be a sad day in the province if the media, 16 years into a free South Africa, were to impose on itself its own brand of self-censorship for its own convenient reasons. The ANC calls on the DA to come clean on the matter, lest the public concludes that it is practising selective morality.”

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