DA hanging on to 'racial exclusivity' - Brett Herron after resigning

2018-11-01 17:29

Former Cape Town mayoral committee member Brett Herron, who resigned from the City council and as a member of the DA on Thursday, says the party he served had abandoned its manifesto and was hanging on to "racial exclusivity".

Herron told reporters in Cape Town on Thursday that he will leave both his seat in council and has quit as a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA).

His resignation comes a day after Patricia de Lille formally submitted her resignation letter as mayor and DA member. Two other Cape Town councillors followed De Lille on Wednesday, bringing the total over the last week to nine.

Herron said the last straw was when the DA caucus refused to support the disposal of the Salt River Market site, letting down communities he had been working with for affordable housing. 

He said it had been recommended that the site be sold to Communicare at a discounted price for affordable housing for the poor and for pensioners unable to afford high rentals in the Woodstock/Salt River area. 

This was removed from the agenda last Thursday, to his "disgust", he said.

"Their manifesto promise to integrate communities is a lie and I have been wasting my time trying to implement this while behind the scenes the insiders have been killing the projects off," Herron said.

READ: DA Cape Town loses another member as Brett Herron resigns

He was speaking at the forecourt of the market, which is off the Voortrekker Road circle between Woodstock and Salt River.

He said he had just returned from a housing project in Delft and there had been not a murmur about disposing of land there, yet there was a big fuss about trying to give people housing nearer to the CBD.

"I told my staff that if we undertake all this work and the caucus rejected it, I would have to resign as I could not, with any credibility, continue to meet with communities and promise that we were doing everything we can to assist them.

He blamed "tacit high-level political support" for interference in the Salt River Market project. 

"It is clear that some in our party are clinging to the racial exclusivity of residential areas engineered by apartheid," said Herron, who added that the DA caucus in council would eventually only be left with "apartheid apologists".

Herron was one of the councillors cited in the independent reports into maladministration in the city, compiled by law firm Bowmans.

The report found multiple irregularities with certain projects in the transport portfolio committee, including a tender for electric buses, known as the BYD deal.

Herron though repeated his denial of any wrongdoing and said the Bowmans reports have been used to defame certain members of the party.

"The Democratic Alliance is a lost party and a lost cause," he said.

Herron said he requested a meeting with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. They ended up having it "on a wall near McDonalds" on the sidelines of the Sevens rugby match, but nothing changed.

OPINION: Why I left the DA and have empathy with De Lille

He felt that the party was being inconsistent, and that it was unfair for him to be singled out for not declaring a $35 room charge while on a trip to China, as he was "honestly unaware this was not paid for by the City".

He compared it to the cost of a birthday cake and a party with an open bar at the One and Only Hotel for provincial DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, reported on earlier this year.

"My cheap hotel bed was not a personal gift to me – it was a place to sleep in a city in China whilst I was on an official trip.  I haven't seen the same amplified response from the DA about the birthday cake which was most definitely a personal gift and was undeclared."

He added: "Despite window dressing, the white dominated upper echelons of power within the DA have not transformed." 

The former Independent Democrat said he had not heard of the party that he and De Lille had belonged to reforming. 

In the meantime, he would work at a legal training business he runs, and continue with his studies.   

"I do not feel bitter. I feel hurt," said Herron. 

Herron had thrown his hat in to replace De Lille as mayor, but lost to Dan Plato, who was sworn in as a councillor on Thursday.

He said he turned down an offer by acting mayor Ian Neilson to be a member of the new mayoral committee.

Herron had been a councillor since 2009.

Read more on:    da  |  brett herron

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