Outgoing Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s tiff with the Democratic Alliance may give rise to a breakaway party before next year’s elections.
This emerged after former members of the DA’s Cape Town caucus gave another press briefing yesterday, accusing DA leader Mmusi Maimane of defamation.
Speaking to The Citizen afterwards, former DA Cape Town caucus member Shaun August warned South Africans to “watch this space” as he and four of his counterparts who resigned last week were in consultation around the country, gathering information to decide on their next political move.
According to August, he and his counterparts, Suzette Little, Siya Mamkeli, Thulani Stemele and Greg Barnardo have been consulting interested parties around the country on what to do following their exodus from the party
This included former members of the Independent Democrats, De Lille’s party that merged with the DA in 2009.
“Give us a few weeks. We have seen messages all over on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter saying people are waiting for our next move.
“We are consulting our ex-colleagues in the DA in our various constituencies in Cape Town. We have received messages from Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and the Eastern Cape from DA members and former ID members,” said August.
“That consultation process must then go its route and then we will take a decision. I can’t say any more than that, so all I can say is watch this space.”
Asked if De Lille was involved in this process, August replied: “I’m afraid I can’t give you an answer on that one.”
Yesterday, the group gave Maimane 24 hours to apologise for allegedly lying about their involvement in allegations of corruption contained in a Bowmans report.
They have accused the DA of racism. Yesterday, August said the DA used former ID members to gain “the coloured vote” in the Western Cape and were now sidelining them in pursuit of a “black vote” agenda.
August said the treatment of former ID members in the party, as well as the dearth of black provincial managers in the Western Cape, was proof the DA leadership was driving a racial agenda.
But head of political research at the SA Institute of Race Relations and former DA member Gareth van Onselen said the group had obviously burnt its bridges within the DA and were trying to leave in a “blaze of glory”.
He said he doubted any of them had definitive proof that the DA was guilty of racism.
“What I think is that, now, because these people have been so fundamentally in support of [De Lille] in the face of a whole lot of damning evidence, that their future in the party is going to be negligible and it will affect them adversely to a degree,” Van Onselen said.
He doubted De Lille had garnered support for a mass exodus and this group’s numbers was proof.
“If anything, it reveals how small of a support base she actually has in the DA. I mean, five caucus members, it will hardly make a dent in the DA.”