Durban - Political analysts have warned the DA that the search for a whistle-blower who leaked the screen grab of the post MP Dianne Kohler Barnard shared on social media could undermine its unity.
They also said the official opposition was undergoing a metamorphosis, with conservatives and liberals clashing over the party’s ideological direction.
On Sunday, the Sunday Tribune, a Daily News sister newspaper, quoted the DA’s federal legal commission chairwoman, Glynnis Breytenbach, confirming an investigation into the leak.
The Sunday Times also reported that at national meeting of the party on Friday, KZN leader, Zwakele Mcwango, was roasted for publicly confirming Penny Sparrow’s membership.
Mncwango, who was not the favourite to lead the province when he ousted Sizwe Mchunu, has been at the centre of the race issues now rocking the DA, after he asked the party’s national leadership to act against Barnard and Sparrow.
This has now put a question mark over his future within the party.
After Friday’s meeting, Mncwango posted on Facebook that he needed “anger management”, as it was unusual for him to be angry for more than an hour.
While he downplayed his outburst, Mncwango hinted to the Daily News about an e-mail he had received at the meeting on Sunday, which he said he was unwilling to talk about.
Independent political analyst, Protas Madlala, said it did not matter who was behind the leak, as whoever was responsible was unhappy with racism.
Madlala said while there might be a strong temptation to want to end the leaks, the investigation could affect unity and force the DA into looking inward.
Rather than pursuing an investigation, “they should warn people, even if it is hurtful, that it is not good to leak things”, Madlala said.
Asked if Mncwango would be bruised, Madlala said: “No position is permanent in politics. Your position is always shaking. It is difficult to tell.”
Xolani Dube, of the Xubeira Research Institute, said the issues at play were about the clash of conservatives and liberals.
“The issue is scepticism that is inherent among whites not to trust blacks,” Dube said.
He also said it should be remembered that the DA was a merger of the Democratic Party and the National Party (NP).
“You might find, currently, the dominant group are those historically aligned to the NP’s ideology of supremacy,” Dube said.
“Those who are like Diane Kohler Barnard are old and their upbringing and socialisation in political discourse was rooted on apartheid… The question is where are the young (white) people in the DA?” Dube asked.
He also said the DA was going through a crucial time of redefining itself and coming to understand there were blacks who might not have racist views.
Dube said Mncwango’s future would not be affected by the leaks and the investigation.
“The DA is going to come to its senses. It is going towards the local government elections. They can’t protect the old guard forever,” Dube said.
Mncwango said he was not perturbed about the media reports on DA internal politics.
“I have a bigger role to play. The bigger role is to give hope to South Africans,” he said.