‘Verwoerdian’ MP stands firm against Zille

2011-10-31 12:56

It was hypocritical to pretend race had no part in the Democratic Alliance’s parliamentary leadership tussle, DA MP Masizole Mnqasela said today.

“If we were not serious about putting race as one of the main components of diversity, then why did we care about removing a competent leader like Athol Trollip?” he asked.

“What’s the fuss about putting up a candidate like Lindiwe and playing this hypocrisy that race does not matter?”

Party leader Helen Zille yesterday accused Mnqasela of “Verwoerdian thinking” for calling Lindiwe Mazibuko’s election “window dressing” and saying she sounded like a white person.

Ahead of the vote, he said diversity was not merely a question of skin colour.

By acting as though it were, the DA would not advance its aim of attracting black voters, Mnqasela contended.

Zille retorted in her weekly newsletter: “Not once during her campaign did Lindiwe or her supporters ever say she should be elected leader of the caucus because she is black.”

Mnqasela said he would seek a meeting with Zille to resolve their row and cautioned that the DA leadership should be more tolerant of criticism from within the party.

“In Africa, we have a tradition that some people in leadership positions think they should be immune to criticism,” he said.

“If we do not allow dissenting views we are not going to grow as a party.”

Mnqasela said despite his support for Trollip in last week’s caucus leadership vote, he believed it was only right that MPs rallied behind Mazibuko since she won the contest.

“I’m calling for unity. We should rally behind Lindiwe now. That is how we should handle this.”

He added: “Being compared to Verwoerd is the worst insult I have endured.”

Zille kept a neutral stance throughout the fractious parliamentary leadership contest but it was widely believed that she has groomed Mazibuko for the post.

Mnqasela has served as an MP since 2009.

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