Bonginkosi Madikizela
Cape Town - Running mates for the DA’s top job in the Western Cape, Bonginkosi Madikizela and Lennit Max, are already battling it out over a possibly tainted probe into misconduct at a posh birthday party.

A probe into possible misconduct by Madikizela following a birthday bash at the lavish One & Only Hotel earlier this year stopped after the resignations of two central figures in the investigation.

The first one was the legislature registrar, Romeo Maasdorp, who was investigating the allegations of possible misconduct, followed by Max, who was chairperson of the conduct committee.

Madikizela was being investigated by the legislature’s conduct committee for not declaring gifts from his birthday in March. A birthday cake valued at R3 000 was sponsored by a person whose company deals with the Department of Human Settlements. Members have to declare gifts valued at R1 500 and more.

Recently, Madikizela reiterated there was nothing untoward about his party, adding that the investigation was a political smear campaign to benefit his opponent, Max.

“I did write a letter through my lawyer to the conduct committee chairperson asking him to recuse himself because of the conflict of interest, given that he will be contesting me for the DA provincial leader position in October.

"I suspect his resignation is linked to that, which is the right thing to do after I was informed by our delegates that he’s been sending them newspaper clips about this matter for obvious reasons."

Lennit Max

Max won’t divulge the reason for his resignation, but stated that it had nothing to do with Madikizela’s letter. Party insiders say dragging out the conduct committee’s proceedings may not bode well for Madikizela, who will go into the elective conference with a cloud hanging over his head.

“Getting rid of Max as chairperson may have been an own goal for Madikizela’s backers because it’s backfiring and creating an impression that there is something bigger at play here and an attempt to protect him,” said a source close to the matter.

“Had this investigating been allowed to continue and be concluded, he would have been seen to be someone who is co-operating and not above the rules that every member is subjected to.

“Now the premier has jumped in to conduct her own investigation and refused to make her findings public, followed by the heavy-handed involvement of the chief whip, it raises questions.

Political analyst Daniel Silke said Madikizela would also face tough questions from within the party over this matter leading up to the conference.

“I don’t know if this will hurt his chances,but the question is really around how he conducts himself in the DA, his leadership qualities and whether he can relate to diverse communities.

"Those are the issues that are important to the party’s electorate,” he said.

“Unless there are real grounds to question his conduct, other than slurs and accusations, I don’t see it having a big effect.

"However, the DA will need to make absolutely sure that there are no hidden skeletons.

“It will be damaging for the party to elect someone who has a cloud hanging over his head.

“He [Madikizela] will have to answer questions around this matter.”

Weekend Argus