‘Rogue’ DA councillor who played ‘race card’ is part of ANC Joburg ‘takeover’ – Moriarty

The DA believes they've identified two of the three councillors who betrayed their party and voted with the ANC to elect Geoff Makhubo as mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty told The Citizen he believed that Basil Douglas and Vinay Choonie are two of the three councillors who betrayed the DA by voting with the ANC at the council sitting, which resulted in the election of Geoff Makhubo as mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

He also believes that these two have been persuaded by the ANC to join a “takeover” of the key metro.

Douglas and Choonie are the only two DA members who attended a council sitting on Wednesday, which saw the ANC’s Nonceba Molwele become the City of Johannesburg’s new speaker, a development the DA considers illegal and will be challenging. The two councillors now face disciplinary action from their party after going against the instructions of the caucus whip.

Moriarty said Choonie had admitted to voting with the ANC in the mayoral vote last week and that while “Douglas has not been honest” about it, he also hadn’t “unequivocally said no”.

Douglas said he would be resigning from the DA in an interview on Power FM which also heard him slam the DA as a “white racist” party, also slamming its black members for allegedly defending “their masters” and knowing “the boss is in charge”.

READ MORE: ‘Rogue’ Joburg DA councillor says he’s a ‘Bushman’ and his party is ‘white’ and ‘racist’

“Essentially he’s playing the race card. I’m not aware of any person who dealt with him on some kind of basis of racial subordination,” said Moriarity in response.

“It was about all councillors acceding to the directions of the whip,” he added, saying most of the DA’s Joburg councillors, the majority of which are not white, did so.

“What he doesn’t answer is whether or not there is an ANC takeover of the DA,” Moriarty said.

He said the “rogue” councillors had sold the DA “down the river” and were “willingly complicit” in electing a mayor implicated in corruption. Makhubo was accused in a report by investigative journalism centre amaBhungane of having earned R30 million as an “influence broker” in a deal between the City of Johannesburg and controversial Gupta-linked company Regiments Capital.

Douglas, said Moriarty, must now “live with his conscience”.

“There are constitutional provisions that prevent him from defying instructions,” said Moriarty, adding that Douglas had “publicly indicated his intention of resigning”, which would count against him in the upcoming internal disciplinary inquiry he would face.

The DA Gauteng chairperson believes that Douglas is “on shaky ground” ahead of this inquiry, but added that he would get a fair hearing.

In response, Douglas told The Citizen he didn’t believe he should be expected to say which candidate for Joburg mayor he voted for, and said he attended the controversial council sitting on Wednesday as he believes his duty to the people who he elected him and to his oath of office was greater than his duty to his caucus whip.

He said recent events leading to former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and former DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s departure show that the DA’s “real colours are not blue, but white”.

“I am an Africanist, I come from the PAC [Pan Africanist Congress]. I was part of the marching in 1976,” he said, adding that he had problems with DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille’s view on colonialism.

“No one came on ships with land, otherwise the ships would have sunk,” he said.

He said he was not the only one who was troubled by the DA’s new direction following Mashaba and Maimane’s departure.

“Everybody sees it,” he said.

READ MORE: Nonceba Molwele appointed Joburg speaker but DA maintains it is illegal

Douglas said he voted for the DA’s speaker for the Joburg council, Vasco Da Gama, in a motion of no confidence against him last week, and said he attended the council sitting on Wednesday against his whip’s instruction as he believes the DA’s non-attendance was illegal.

“How can the DA instruct councillors to do illegal things? I’m not serving conscience of the DA but the community that elected me,” he said.

Regarding his future in the DA, Douglas said he was “waiting for the master”.

“They make you an underling, a hireling, a surrogate. I sit in the back, I’m not manageable, domesticated, amenable.

“Moriarty doesn’t give me instructions,” he said.

Attempts to contact Choonie were unsuccessful at the time of publication.

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