Cape Town - 181028 - Left to right: Thulani Stemele (Mfuleni councillor), Suzette Little (area-based mayoral committee member), Shaun August (Chief Whip), Siya Mamkeli (area-based mayoral committee member) and Greg Bernardo (councillor Atlantis). The five DA councillors held a press conference on Sunday after they caused some dramatic scenes in the Cape Town City Council on Thursday after resigning from the party, citing racism and expressing support for outgoing Mayor Patricia de Lille. . Photographer: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The five DA councillors who resigned last week after a heated council meeting have given DA leader Mmusi Maimane until Monday to apologise to them for reportedly accusing them of tender irregularities.
In his weekly newsletter Bokamoso, Maimane wrote under the title, “Cape Town city council”: “We cannot sacrifice accountability on the altar of false racial victimhood.

For five Cape Town councillors the DA wasn’t a racist party last month, but now that a credible forensic investigation by a credible legal firm has allegedly implicated them in tender irregularities, the DA is suddenly a racist party. These five councillors have resigned, claiming racial victimhood. Can it be a coincidence that they have suddenly decided the DA is racist now that they stand accused of maladministration?”

Maimane added that in positioning themselves as racial victims, they seek to discredit the forensic investigation, the legal firm that undertook it, and the political party that has sought accountability - the DA.

“This tactic is destructive for two reasons. Firstly, it undermines the fight for accountability. Secondly, it undermines the fight against real racism - the classic case of crying wolf.” At a press conference, the councillors said they are considering legal action against Maimane for suggesting they are implicated in the report.

Shaun August, who was chief whip, said: “We resigned as individuals for our own reasons. We do not make the claim of racism lightly. It is our experience. We intend to share in more detail why we have called the party racist and also what we did to try to address this inside the party with senior leaders.”

The councillors want Maimane to issue a media statement and another Bokamosa newsletter by 6pm on Monday, apologising for making “false and defamatory allegations”. If he fails to comply they said they intend to sue him and the party.

Former mayco member Suzette Little said: “We were not subjected to any investigation; we were not interviewed or anything. The only way we are going to deal with this is when people understand what they are actually dealing with.”

August said the DA has not transformed from a white-controlled party. “We are not saying all white people are racist; we are saying it is whites in senior positions who drive a racist agenda. We are challenging them to provide us with an organogram to show us how many directors they have who are white. We are not saying whites should not have a job; we are saying transformation within the DA is not happening and it is a concern for us.”

Pandemonium broke out last Thursday at a full council meeting after August, Little and Siyabulela Mamkeli and ward councillors Greg Bernardo and Thulani Stemele resigned in support of Mayor Patricia d Lille. The councillors accused the party of racism. At the same time, DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela disputed the claims of racism and bullying in the party. At the centre of the chaos was the Bowman Gilfillan forensic report.

De Lille launched a scathing attack on her detractors for slandering her in the media. She has been implicated in the report and accused of corruption and maladministration in the City of Cape Town.

Bernardo said: “Mmusi Maimane is a false shepherd being controlled. Grant Twigg said we are not implicated, while Mmusi said we are all implicated. This confirms the DA has become a zoo. Everybody does as they please.”

DA deputy chief of staff in Maimane’s office, Graham Charters, said: “Mr Maimane has received the letter and is receiving legal advice.”

Cape Argus