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The attacks on Maimane's ethical standing and character are merely propaganda by those driven by bitterness but most importantly their blatant intolerance for the diversity in the DA, writes John Moodey.
The Democratic Alliance has a constitution which states that "All Members of the National Parliament who are members of the Party are members of the Parliamentary Caucus of the Party." Therefore, it cannot be that there can be an alternative caucus within the caucus. Furthermore there are constitutionally created bodies in the party, such as the Federal Executive (FedEx), provincial executives, etc. on which elected representatives serve.
A caucus within the DA's parliamentary caucus, the so-called "1959 committee", is another attempt at creating parallel structures within the party with the aim of undermining the democratically elected leadership. We have seen this movie play itself out in the previous term (2015/19).
The 1959 committee is an attempt to formalise a clearly factional structure within the party, that has all the elements to institutionalise divisions in the organisation. They hide behind "freedom of association" to justify their nefarious agenda. Mind you, 1959 is the same year in which the then apartheid parliament voted to "legitimise" qualified franchise.
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A small group of individuals, some of whom (mainly its core leadership) have been at the forefront of some of the most vicious factional fights within the party, over especially the past year, are setting a very dangerous precedent that attempts to create factional mini-caucuses throughout legislatures and councils in the party on the basis of whatever unites these factionalists at a given time; be it race, gender, language, culture, and any imaginable divisive issue.
The name of the committee and the overwhelming white demographic of the membership is problematic. The excuse that this committee was formed to counter the so-called "Young Lions" and "Black Caucus" groups in the National Assembly DA caucus is unconvincing. Nobody can identify anybody who belongs to these fictitious groups, "created" by some of the leaders of this very group to cause divisions in the party along racial lines.
It is rumoured that its self-anointed leader Ghaleb Cachalia still harbours feelings of bitterness for losing the Gauteng provincial leadership contest. He has never accepted a democratic process and has as is typical of many of those named as members of his committee, instead become an opposition within the DA.
It is believed that one of its members, Mike Waters, whose line of questioning in formal meetings allegedly duplicates the media queries driven by Rapport around the leader, Mmusi Maimane's house, is driven by deep bitterness of losing the party's deputy chief whip seat to Jacques Julius (a coloured) in Parliament. He allegedly blames his defeat on the leader, who he alleges mobilised against him.
READ: Senior DA MP quizzes Maimane on who pays his rent - report
The attacks on the leader's ethical standing and character are merely propaganda by those driven by bitterness but most importantly their blatant intolerance for the diversity within the DA. Mmusi has explained himself to us as provincial leaders and I have no reason to doubt his bona fides. They cannot accept the fact that the DA has prominent and capable leaders – who happen to be black, coloured and Indian – who have joined the party when it was unpopular for us to do so. Many of us became alienated from our family and lost good friendships by joining the DA. We added value and continue to grow the party.
They cannot believe that we retained our identity and culture. They expected us to assimilate and adopt their version of "liberalism".
We see the long-term vision. We truly believe in the project of non-racialism and of building "One SA for All". These aren't just slogans, they are what we practice and strive for.
It seems that they expect one to walk like them and quack like them, thus be like them. Most of us as members – black and white – refuse to do so.
Even the Church realised and admitted after centuries of domination, that instead of attempting to do away with and looking down upon indigenous religious practices, that it should and in fact now is practicing inculturation instead. The spreading of the faith is stronger and more acceptable, without watering down the principles and teachings of the faith by demonising indigenous religious practices, some of which are older that Christianity.
Theirs is not a principled fight. It's an attempted coup driven by racists, hiding behind liberalism, opposed to the inroads the DA has made into black voters.
This is the same group who is culpable for damaging the party's campaign message through their reckless tweets and fights on social media.
Their constant reference to the loss of "traditional" votes has become a rallying call for them to attack black leaders in the organisation and reverse the progress the party has made amongst black, coloured and Indian voters.
It seems that these people are happy to remain in perpetual opposition in South Africa.
In contrast, we who recognise Mmusi's leadership, yet do not follow him blindly just because he is black, but because he is capable, are working to build – well aware of the party's and country's past – a movement that embraces the diversity of South Africa, as a strength to building a prosperous and shared future for all, based on the four pillars of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.
- John Moodey is DA leader in Gauteng.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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