DA’s ‘state of dam­age con­trol’

The Citizen (KZN) - - Opinion -

The Demo­cratic Al­liance (DA) seems to be their own worst en­emy and no one else should be blamed for their ap­par­ent dis­mal state but them­selves. Just over three years ago, the party was do­ing well. Un­der their first black leader Mmusi Maimane, the party man­aged to win three metropoli­tan mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties aside from re­tain­ing their Repub­lic of Europe, Cape Town.

They tried to prove they’re a non-racial party by plac­ing black men – Her­man Mashaba and Solly Msi­manga – as may­ors of Jo­han­nes­burg and Tsh­wane re­spec­tively.

They handed out ti­tle deeds, cut rib­bons, im­ple­mented Ex­panded Pub­lic Works Pro­grammes and did some PR ex­er­cises to build trust with their res­i­dents while hav­ing the sup­port of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) and small op­po­si­tion par­ties.

But, in no time, scan­dals started to emerge un­der Msi­manga’s lead­er­ship and in Fe­bru­ary last year he re­signed, claim­ing to be fo­cus­ing on his Gaut­eng pre­mier­ship cam­paign. He was re­placed by Stevens Mok­galapa, an­other black man, to head the coun­try’s cap­i­tal city.

Last year’s gen­eral elec­tions, how­ever, were an em­bar­rass­ment for the blue party, who un­der­per­formed by not main­tain­ing the votes they got in 2016.

Even Msi­manga might have re­gret­ted re­sign­ing as mayor as he didn’t even get any­where near half of the votes he was hop­ing to at­tract.

And, sev­eral months af­ter, the black lead­ers left. Maimane and Mashaba re­signed. Ex­actly a year af­ter Msi­manga’s may­oral res­ig­na­tion, Mok­galapa also an­nounced his in­ten­tion to re­sign as the mayor af­ter be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the party for his con­duct.

This af­ter an au­dio tape emerged where he was heard gos­sip­ing about party mem­bers with his for­mer MMC of trans­port Sheila Lynn Senkubuge.

But that res­ig­na­tion could have been a shot in the foot.

If we look at what hap­pened in Jo­han­nes­burg, it was clear the EFF was no longer sid­ing with the DA. The red-berets helped get the ANC back into power in the eco­nomic hub when they voted with the Thuma Mina brigade to place the ANC’s Ge­off Makhubo as Jo­han­nes­burg mayor af­ter Mashaba left.

In Tsh­wane, the ANC and EFF were on a witch-hunt to re­move Mok­galapa and Tsh­wane speaker Katlego Mathebe, sub­mit­ting nu­mer­ous no-con­fi­dence mo­tions against the two, threat­en­ing le­gal ac­tion against the speaker for her con­duct while get­ting the back­ing of Gaut­eng co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs MEC Le­bo­gang Maile.

But it seems the loss of Tsh­wane was loom­ing since Mok­galapa planned to va­cate his seat. De­spite John Moodey’s announceme­nt that they would nom­i­nate a DA can­di­date to re­place Mok­galapa, and his hopes that the EFF would vote with them, what were the chances that the EFF would turn around and give sup­port­ing votes?

In a leaked let­ter to The Cit­i­zen ear­lier this week, writ­ten by now DA fed­eral leader can­di­date Mbali Ntuli to her DA mem­bers, she ad­mit­ted that the party was in a “state of dam­age con­trol”.

“Just a few months ago we were fo­cus­ing on win­ning gov­ern­ment. To­day, we are in a per­ma­nent state of dam­age con­trol. We no longer plan to take over gov­ern­ments; we are plan­ning to just hold on to our ex­ist­ing sup­port base. And even that seems im­pos­si­ble,” she wrote.

Last year’s gen­eral elec­tions were an em­bar­rass­ment for the blue party, who un­der­per­formed by not main­tain­ing the votes they got in 2016.

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