The storms in the DA have risen again and although the Cape itself is currently undergoing storm damage, the Mother City cannot teach the ruling party anything about the associated destruction.
Three separate cold conflict fronts are currently chilling blue on the party. The first is that DA’s federal executive, Helen Zille, has pledged for the umpteenth time to refrain from controversial statements on social media. She had already made similar promises before, but did not keep to them.
The latest controversy follows a series of claims by Zille regarding former president. FW de Klerk, the ANC, apartheid and racial discrimination. Of these, several were controversial, and arguable, with one focusing Zille’s statement that there are currently more racially discriminatory laws on the South African Code than under apartheid.
This statement – which was even considered untrue by the Freedom Front Plus – led to renewed complaints against Zille by two MPs, Phumzile van Damme and Hlanganani Gumbi, and a Gauteng MP, Khume Ramalifho. The complaints are currently being investigated by the DA’s Federal Law Commission.
This caused severe dissatisfaction at two important DA meetings last week, Maroela Media is told. The first was the DA caucus meeting, where the party’s acting leader, John Steenhuisen, was apparently jailed because his dismissal of Zille was, in some people’s opinion, too lame. Zille is not a member of parliament and was therefore not present at the caucus meeting.
The second meeting was apparently on Thursday night, where several senior DA figures at Zille pleaded to just quit, because every time the party started to do better, according to its polls, it was sinking all progress by the following controversy and internal strife unleashed.
Zille, who still enjoys a lot of personal voter support, was understood to be harsh and refused to admit that her most recent tweet was a mistake. She is now planning a book in which she wants to write everything she thinks she is not allowed to say – a future potential poison arrow for the DA to avoid.
The second DA storm is about the party’s upcoming congress, which must elect new leaders. After the party’s federal executive decided on a virtual congress and Zille officially announced it, it now appears to be in the balance. The DA’s federal council, consisting of about 130 members, will decide by the end of next month whether such a virtual congress will take place, Congress organizer Greg Krumbock said.
This comes after one of the candidates who indicated that they would stand for the party leadership, Mbali Ntuli, showed her discomfort about the correctness, validity and honesty of a virtual leadership election. In addition to Ntuli, Steenhuisen and Gauteng DA leader John Moodey have already indicated that they are planning to climb the crayon.
However, nominations only officially open on September 1, and this is where the third storm comes up for the DA, as experienced Gauteng party chairman Mike Moriart has indicated he will oppose Zille for federal executive chairmanship.
A fierce battle is expected with the possibility of a decrease in DA support to the right if Zille loses, and a decrease in DA support to the left if Zille wins.