DA accused of unfair treatment of black members

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Two former Councillors in the City of Tshwane Metro have accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the region of unfair treatment of black members. Former Environment and Agriculture Mayoral Committee (MMC), Mike Mkhari and the Proportional representational (PR) Councillor in Soshanguve, Rose Maake, resigned last week due to alleged bullying in the party.

Unfair treatment, disrespect, and victimisation. Some of the claims the two Councillors have levelled against their former party.

Mike Mkhari served as MMC in Solly Msimanga’s administration, and after 10 years as a member was once voted the DA’s best activist in the country. Mkhari says the situation has taken a turn for the worse since the party repositioned itself after losing members to the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) in the 2019 elections.

“When Mmusi was campaigning as a party leader in 2019 elections, he said if you are a racist you must not vote for the DA, that was a position to demonstrate that DA is a non-racial movement, but instead the votes decreased because racists didn’t vote for the DA, but now the DA has started with a project to go out and recruit those racists back from FF Plus to vote for the DA.”

He says infighting among the so-called black and white caucuses is on the rise, with those opting to remain neutral, constantly victimised.

“It’s an unhealthy situation whereby you have values of non-racialism but having internal fights in caucuses as different raced with different beliefs. What attracted us to the DA is practically impossible to achieve as a party. So I felt that I cannot align myself with that kind of thing.”

Rose Maake joined the party in 2011. She and Mkhari’s constituency was recently put under administration. This despite it being voted the best in the country in 2014. Maake believes this was done as punishment for speaking up.

“It was a lot of bullying that was happening there, several times, I tried to talk to the regional Chairperson, forwarded her messages to say please come down and sort this out but she never came to deal with the problem. I cannot work in that kind of condition, but you are not free, you are expected to work very hard as if you are now a slave. It was too much. In the DA, we have a program called wellness ambassador, my wellness ambassador knows about all of this.”

The DA has dismissed these allegations. Regional Chairperson, Mpho Mehlape-Zuma says the two resigned because of their poor performance.

“One of the measures we instituted against public reps, was to check how much they are doing, and we sent the letters. The councillors that are involved in this were issued with letters of non-performance, but we do wish them the best with their future endeavours.”

The DA has suffered a number of high profile resignations in the last two years. These included former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, former Jo’burg Mayor Herman Mashaba, former Gauteng leader John Moodey and former Tshwane regional leader and utility services MMC Abel Tau.

Mkhari and Maake say more are on the cards as the local government elections in October draw closer.

DA accused of unfair treatment of black members