No amount of champagne, cakes or booze-fuelled parties can mask the reality of the what the ANC has become.
More sun than clouds. Mild.
Former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. (Brenton Geach, Gallo Images, file)
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On Wednesday, October 31, residents of Cape
Town bid farewell to Patricia De Lille as she resigned from her position as executive
mayor. In addition to this, De Lille also resigned as a member of the
Democratic Alliance (DA).
De Lille's resignation as DA member should
come as no surprise. During 18 months of political infighting, she has been a
victim of abuse and inconsistent accusations by various leaders in the party,
ranging from the city council to national level. Time and time again, she won
court cases that involved attempts to drag her name through the mud.
After watching the ongoing battle between
the DA and De Lille, I admittedly feel complete empathy for her. I used to be
an active member of the DA and led the DA Youth in the West Durban constituency
in 2014/2015. Certain experiences in the party consequently convinced me to
For one, the party's strict control over
members' perspectives always rose its ugly head while I was a member. It tended
to prescribe what members and leaders could post and share on social media,
with members who signed up as "Brand Ambassadors" receiving emails
detailing the exact content they should be promoting on their pages and
Moreover, the culture that tended to exist
amongst DA members and groups, on social media in particular, was exceptionally
problematic. While the DA refers to its members as "democrats" and
openly encourages freedom in its mandate, "freedom of speech" and "freedom
of thought" are often shut down on platforms.
When certain "democrats"
expressed ideas and views on party policies that are considered more left-wing,
certain leaders shut down these individuals and grouped them up into "factions"
and referred to them as "black nationalists", especially during the
time when the party was determining its stance on black economic empowerment
Although the point of a political party is
to be a collective of people who share common views and policies on how to
govern the country, there should always be a space for the party members to
debate, learn and improve in situations. Hence, the backlash that members
receive for providing alternative policy ideas hinders the intellectual
capacity of the DA as a whole.
Having views which are hateful,
discriminatory and dehumanising cannot be accepted by any party. However, views
that may uphold the Constitution and the human dignity of South Africans,
should always be considered and discussed.
Some may argue that it is absolutely necessary
for the DA to have requested De Lille to leave due to the controversial Bowmans
report which has made scathing findings against her. While I do believe that
this report needs to be taken into consideration, I find the way the party has
used the report as a political weapon against De Lille remarkably strange and
sketchy. Thus, I support the move for it to be taken into judicial review, and
following that, have a critical analysis over its findings.
Furthermore, Maimane's recent remarks
regarding City of Cape Town councillors who resigned from the DA were extremely
problematic. He announced to the media and members that those councillors were,
in fact, included in the Bowmans report despite that being far from the truth.
Maimane has since retracted that statement. Nevertheless, it goes to show that
any member in the party who is considered "rebellious" is deemed to
be "corrupt" by the party.
In response to this, some "rebellious"
ex-members claim that the DA is a racist party that continues to undermine
people of colour within, and outside, the party. Although the party calls foul
and states that individuals continue to use the "race card" against
the party, surely there must be some truth in it if outgoing members, who have
been mistreated by the party, are claiming that the DA is racist?
The reality is that we are dealing with a
political party that is unapologetically volatile in the way it treats its leaders.
Lindiwe Mazibuko and Patricia de Lille are two prominent leaders who ended up
leaving the party because of its problematic antics.
If the DA does not reflect on its positions
and procedures, it's going to find itself losing more leaders who truly drive
its campaigning successes.
- Luke Waltham is a law student, writer, blogger and human rights activist. He is currently the chairperson of the United Nations Association South Africa at Stellenbosch University.
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