Durban - Fiery former DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko has been described by her colleagues, allies and enemies as a monster who always wanted to have her way.
It is understood that Mazibuko’s increasing tendency to alienate colleagues and throw her toys out of the cot when the party took a line that she was not happy with led to her sudden departure.
A former DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal said that, while he never worked closely with Mazibuko, she was viewed as the DA’s own Julius Malema.
“She was the DA’s Malema in the making, but a rather sophisticated one,” he said.
“She became large and in charge. It was unfortunate that the same fate befell her at the end,” said a colleague of hers in the National Assembly.
Mazibuko announced last weekend that she had quit her role as the parliamentary leader of the official opposition in order to pursue academic endeavours at Harvard University in the US.
“If there is one thing you cannot take away from her, love or loathe her, the woman understood politics, the power it exerts, the loopholes it exploits, the fatal vulnerability it poses, and she entrenched herself in a way that threatened the status quo in the party,” the former leader said.
“As a politician, she was driven by certain power interests, aspirations and her own life and career objectives. Somebody must have seen the danger of this,” he added.
Another senior KZN DA MP said that Mazibuko’s micro-managing style of leadership had led many to dislike her.
“This did not sit well with some of us. I cannot have someone breathing down my neck while I am doing my work.
“At one time I told her that we all applied for MP jobs and passed the interview with distinction, so we knew what we were doing,” she said.
Another DA member in KZN said that, although he had never crossed swords with Mazibuko, he believed she was not going to last after “abusing the power and the privileges bestowed upon her”.
“Lindiwe would not listen to anyone but leader Helen (Zille). At first she did what she was told to do by the leader and agreed to everything she said. In fact, she was Helen’s enforcer and de facto leader.”
He said that later Mazibuko started defying Zille.
“For some strange reason, she stopped listening to Zille and told me that she was no puppet and no Chester Missing.”
Chester Missing is an eNCA News satirical effigy puppet journalist.
“Things started to fall apart long before that black caucus dinner. It seemed, from our talks, that she also wanted to prove to the ruling party that she did not agree with employment policies that sought to prejudice black people, but she got no buy-in from Helen. From then on, her life became unbearable,” he said.
However, a former DA MPL from the KZN Midlands said that Mazibuko was the best of what the DA sought to achieve and offer, albeit in a short space of time.
“She could be horrible at times, pretty horrible, but once she agreed with you, it was a win-win situation. But, like a typical politician, she was good at blatantly stealing other people’s great ideas and driving them as if they were her own, without giving credit,” he said.
He added that Mazibuko had felt the same when other people hijacked her ideas and projects.
“She had done well on keeping Nkandla in the news as an electioneering tool, but felt at the end that Helen wanted Mmusi (Maimane) to take over on the eve of an election.
“It started with a video Mmusi made when they went to open a case against President (Jacob) Zuma in Nkandla in March.
“Mmusi came in from nowhere and drove the campaign. That was broad-daylight hijacking aided by the owners of the same vehicle,” he said.
“Lindiwe believes she delivered the DA election triumph.”
Political analyst Professor Steven Friedman said what her colleagues had said could be an indication of just how dirty the DA’s politics had become.
Political analyst Daniel Silke agreed with Friedman and leapt to Mazibuko’s defence, saying that the issue should be about her ability to lead, not how she treated subordinates and colleagues.