Rebel MP apologises to DA, Zille

2012-05-15 00:00

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

But Mnqasela made 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 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 the apology was sufficient, and it was awaiting Masizole’s response to its letter in which it outlined the conditions on which the charges against Mnqasela would be dropped.

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

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”.

Mnqasela said he wanted to apologise to the party, to Zille and to Mazibuko.

He 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.

The DA, in a letter signed by Selfe, said Zille and Mazibuko had agreed to withdraw their complaints and had accepted his apology. It also said Mnqasela should agree his letter of apology be released to the media.

Selfe said in the letter that “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”.

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