Race row rocks Cape DA

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

A racial storm has erupted in the DA in the Western Cape as the party pre­pares to elect an act­ing pro­vin­cial leader next week­end.

In­terim leader Bonginkosi Madik­izela told City Press that DA mem­bers cam­paign­ing for the po­si­tion were us­ing his race against him.

Madik­izela is one of five can­di­dates who have been nom­i­nated to fill the po­si­tion left va­cant by Pa­tri­cia de Lille last month, al­beit still on an act­ing ba­sis. The DA will be elect­ing the act­ing leader in Worces­ter on Satur­day.

“There are peo­ple run­ning around say­ing the party is not ready to be led by a black per­son be­cause, in the Western Cape, coloured peo­ple are the ma­jor­ity,” Madik­izela told City Press yes­ter­day.

“I find that hyp­o­crit­i­cal be­cause if you look at North West, for ex­am­ple, 91% of the peo­ple are black, but our DA leader there is Joe McGluwa, who is a coloured per­son. In Lim­popo, 93% of the peo­ple are black, but our leader there is Jac­ques Smalle, who is white. And in the East­ern Cape, the leader is Athol Trol­lip.”

Madik­izela said the irony was that those us­ing the race card to cam­paign against him were “not even white peo­ple”.

“They are peo­ple with a nar­row agenda who are us­ing this to cam­paign for their per­sonal in­ter­ests and not for the broader in­ter­ests of the party.”

He warned that race-based politics would kill the party and had been a weak­ness in many other par­ties.

For­mer DA leader He­len Zille told City Press that she was aware of race-based cam­paign­ing in the party.

“I have al­ways taken a very strong stand against the race card be­ing used in the DA and I will con­tinue do­ing so. I am afraid that ev­ery sin­gle time there is an ad­van­tage in South Africa for some­one to play the race card, they play the race card. I am tired of it.” Ac­cord­ing to DA sources, the real race for lead­er­ship is be­tween Madik­izela and Shaun Au­gust, a for­mer In­de­pen­dent Democrats (ID) mem­ber, who is now the re­gional chair­per­son of the DA in the Cape Town Metropoli­tan Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, as well as the party’s chief whip in the City of Cape Town coun­cil.

Last month, Au­gust pleaded guilty and en­tered into a plea bar­gain with the party’s fed­eral le­gal com­mis­sion for fail­ing to fol­low proper pro­cure­ment pro­cesses with an­other DA coun­cil­lor in sourc­ing T-shirts for the party’s cam­paign ahead of last year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

Sources have claimed that se­nior DA lead­ers, in­clud­ing Zille, who al­legedly sup­ports Madik­izela, are us­ing the T-shirt scan­dal against Au­gust in the cam­paign.

While Madik­izela stated that he was not the right per­son to talk about Au­gust be­cause they are con­test­ing each other, he con­firmed some peo­ple were un­happy about his ri­val.

He said that, while the party had sys­tems in place, it was true that there was un­hap­pi­ness. “In fact, many peo­ple are ac­cus­ing us of be­ing in­con­sis­tent be­cause when a per­son is found guilty or en­ters a plea bar­gain, there is a prece­dence set that they are barred from stand­ing for pub­lic of­fice, which has not been the case with Shaun.” Au­gust said the T-shirt saga was be­ing used against him. “If I was cor­rupt, the DA would have got­ten rid of me a long time ago. They are drag­ging up the T-shirt thing to dis­credit me be­cause I had the balls to stand for the elec­tion,” he added.

Au­gust said he was not aware of any race-based cam­paign, adding that, “in our cam­paign, we don’t talk about race”.

Zille de­nied speak­ing against Au­gust and would not con­firm sup­port for Madik­izela.

“I don’t get in­volved in these things up­front and pub­licly. I don’t want to do it,” she said.

The other can­di­dates are Cape Town coun­cil­lor Ar­lene Adams, Len­nit Max and Peter Langeveld.

Madik­izela is Western Cape MEC for hu­man set­tle­ments who has worked with Zille since her days as the mayor of Cape Town, while Au­gust is a for­mer ID mem­ber who is known to be close to De Lille.

Bonginkosi Madik­izela

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