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By Getrude Makhafola

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‘Why are rules being bent for him?’: Outcry as expelled De Freitas attends DA meetings

One DA member says De Freitas does as he pleases in Gauteng.

Members of the DA in Gauteng are fuming over former MP Manny de Freitas’ attendance of constituency meetings and events, alongside leaders such as Gauteng’s Solly Msimanga, despite his expulsion.

The former DA transport shadow minister, who allegedly enjoys a close relationship with party leader John Steehuisen, was found guilty by the Federal Legal Commission (FLC) for allegedly using party donor funds for personal gain.

He resigned after the federal executive expelled him. The DA never announced De Freitas’ expulsion.

The long-drawn complaint was laid by former MP Tsepo Mhlongo in 2021.

DA bending its rules?

DA members in Gauteng said they were surprised to see De Freitas participate in party matters such as constituency meetings.

According to members who opted to remain anonymous, the rules dictate that only members are allowed to attend the meetings as they concern internal party matters.

“He is not allowed to be part of meetings or any engagements but he is all over the place in the province. He even accompanies Solly [Msimanga] to meetings.

“De Freitas is privileged among us… why is he doing as he pleases?

“Why are the rules being bent for De Freitas?” asked one insider who wouldn’t be named.

Another party member said there was no explanation for De Freitas’ attendance from provincial leaders.

“It’s like he is representing someone higher up, no one dares to ask why an expelled person is present in the meetings.

“It is quite weird. We have never witnessed such brazen action from anyone before,” said the source.

The meetings

The Gauteng-based former MP accompanied Msimanga to Pennyville in January, where the premier candidate spoke to business owners.

He then attended several other engagements with party members, including one alongside DA-governed Midvaal Municipality councillors and Mayor Peter Teixeira in Meyerton on 22 February.

The event took place two weeks after DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi confirmed to The Citizen that De Freitas had been expelled.

Expelled DA MP Manny de Freitas poses with Midvaal Municipality DA councillors and Mayor Peter Teixeira after a meeting in February. Photo: Facebook
Expelled DA MP Manny de Freitas (Right in the second row) poses with Midvaal Municipality DA councillors and Mayor Peter Teixeira after a meeting in February. Photo: Facebook

On Monday, he was part of the Joburg South constituency where party members were given certificates for completing a leadership training programme.

The party did not announce De Freitas’ expulsion, nor his resignation, with Mhlongo adamant that he is being treated with kid gloves because of his close relationship with the DA’s leaders.

“He is being protected because of the way he resigned. It tells you a lot about the DA. Some members are protected and others are on their own,” Mhlongo said.

Provincial chairperson denies De Freitas attends internal meetings

Provincial chairperson Fred Nel said De Freitas was invited to the certificate handover event. He denied that he attends party constituency meetings.

“De Freitas may not attend internal meetings where decisions are taken but may attend public events as a member of the public.

“He is free to show his support for the DA and we cannot prohibit him from doing so.

“He started and drove the leadership development programme in his erstwhile constituency and was invited to be part of the graduation celebration because of his historic involvement and role in the programme.”

Meanwhile, Malatsi said he does not comment on ‘”non-DA members”.

“Mr De Freitas’ membership was terminated, there is no appeal [by De Freitas] and as such I don’t comment on non-members of the party,” he said on Thursday.

‘Rampant corruption and fraud in DA’

In his complaint, Mhlongo alleged that De Freitas, said to be a good fundraiser, used the money as he saw fit.

He added that while his “unfair” expulsion was widely publicised, De Freitas was given “a great send-off as a way to sort of bury his part in the case”.

“It was a tale of rampant corruption and fraud in the DA, they protected Manny all this time.

“When I reported his abuse of party funds, I was sent from pillar to post, they made me the sacrificial lamb and terminated my membership.

“It was planned, and they still did not deal with the fraud and corruption,” he said.

Mhlongo was expelled last December after the DA said activists under his leadership in the Soweto constituency wrongfully captured information on the system.

The former parliamentarian has since joined ActionSA.

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Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Solly Msimanga