Selfe un­der fire as new row splits DA

Sunday Times - - News Politics - By THABO MOKONE

● DA fed­eral coun­cil chair James Selfe has been ac­cused of try­ing to curry favour with se­nior party mem­bers as he fights a pos­si­ble at­tempt to dump him this week­end.

Selfe tabled a pro­posal at a fed­eral coun­cil meet­ing, which ends to­day, that would let pro­vin­cial lead­ers serve as full-time mem­bers of the panel that se­lects pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives at na­tional and pro­vin­cial level.

Those who are op­posed to what they call the “pa­tron­age amend­ment” have claimed Selfe is do­ing the bid­ding of pro­vin­cial lead­ers to se­cure their sup­port in case a vote of no con­fi­dence in his lead­er­ship is held at the meet­ing.

Sev­eral DA heavy­weights, in­clud­ing na­tional leader Mmusi Maimane, are said to be un­happy about how Selfe man­aged the DA le­gal strat­egy in its bat­tle with Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille. Those aligned to Maimane have re­peat­edly threat­ened to pro­pose a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Selfe.

Selfe’s amend­ment is op­posed by 34 prom­i­nent DA fig­ures in­clud­ing chief whip John Steen­huisen; Selfe’s deputy, Natasha Maz­zone; other in­flu­en­tial MPs like James Lorimer and Gavin Davis; and two pro­vin­cial lead­ers, Bonginkosi Madik­izela of the West­ern Cape and Joe McGluwa of North West.

In a let­ter ask­ing del­e­gates at this week­end’s meet­ing to block the pro­posal, the group said that al­low­ing pro­vin­cial lead­ers to be full mem­bers of the se­lec­tion panel would make them “om­nipo­tent in the se­lec­tion process, with enor­mous scope for abuse and pa­tron­age”.

In terms of the cur­rent rules, pro­vin­cial lead­ers are only al­lowed to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the se­lec­tion panel.

“The amend­ment, as pro­posed, would make the pro­vin­cial lead­ers play­ers, coach, ref­eree, captain and se­lec­tor, all si­mul­ta­ne­ously,” the let­ter said. “[It would] en­able a pro­vin­cial leader to en­trench a loyal sup­port base by re­ward­ing a net­work of key lieu­tenants, re­gard­less of any ob­jec­tive cri­te­ria or suit­abil­ity to serve.”

How­ever, the pro­posal has the sup­port of other pro­vin­cial lead­ers — Nqaba Bhanga of the East­ern Cape, Zwakele Mncwango of KwaZulu-Natal, Pa­tri­cia Kopane of the Free State, An­drew Louw of the North­ern Cape, Jac­ques Smalle of Lim­popo, Jane Sit­hole of Mpumalanga and John Moodey of Gaut­eng.

Selfe’s sup­port­ers say a con­ser­va­tive group of white lead­ers in the party are con­tin­u­ing their at­tempts to limit the pow­ers of black peo­ple in key lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

“It has been an anom­aly not to have pro­vin­cial lead­ers serv­ing full-time on the se­lec­tion panel, par­tic­u­larly in their re­spec­tive prov­inces, and it’s about time this is cor­rected,” said a DA insider who did not want to be iden­ti­fied.

“So peo­ple are op­por­tunis­ti­cally us­ing this to at­tack James be­cause they are look­ing for ev­ery­thing to jus­tify us­ing him as a sac­ri­fi­cial lamb for the [De Lille] mess.”

The spat fol­lows one at the party’s na­tional congress in April, where Maimane pro­posed an amend­ment that would com­mit the DA to re­flect­ing the coun­try’s di­ver­sity in its own ranks. Some of the mem­bers of the group of 34 said this would amount to a quota sys­tem.

Selfe had not re­sponded to ques­tions by the time the Sun­day Times went to press.

DA spokesman Solly Malatsi said the party’s fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive had ap­pointed a sub­com­mit­tee “to work on a pro­posal for pro­vin­cial lead­ers to play a role on se­lec­tion pan­els . . . con­sis­tent with the con­sti­tu­tion of the party”.

James Selfe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.