DA Joburg ward councillors facing expulsion for defying party instructions are Basil Douglas and Vinay Choonie.
Johannesburg - The two DA councillors who helped collapse the official opposition’s government in Johannesburg by secretly voting for the ANC have dared the party to fire them.

Vinay Choonie and Basil Douglas are facing expulsion and removal from their positions after defying the DA and costing it power in the economic hub last week, where its coalition partners also voted for the ANC through a secret ballot.

Choonie, who was a member of the ANC until 2012 when he switched to the DA, said he was disillusioned with the party over its antagonism to redress, which he said was demonstrated by the return of federal council chairperson Helen Zille and the rejection of former party leader Mmusi Maimane.

He said the DA had changed into a white party.

“In 2016 I was proud to stand as a ward councillor and win because I believed in Mmusi Maimane’s vision of ‘One South Africa For All’. The party has taken another turn and it is no more a party for all because they want to get white votes from the Freedom Front Plus,” said Choonie.

Choonie confirmed that he was among the councillors who helped the ANC unseat the DA.

“We (DA) were messing up and I voted with the ANC. Basil Douglas also voted with me,” Choonie said.

The councillors were exposed after they defiantly attended a council meeting to elect a new speaker despite the DA’s instructions to boycott it.

The party previously blocked the motion to remove its councillor ,Vasco da Gama, as speaker, despite a majority of councillors supporting the motion.

Choonie also accused the DA administration of allowing land grabs in Lenasia South in order to please the EFF, a move which he said saw 7000 shacks being erected in Ward 7.

“I went to the leadership and begged them to stop people from invading the ward, and they said we had an agreement with the EFF and we could not do anything about it. When you lose power like that and the EFF holds the city to ransom, it cannot be accepted,” Choonie said.

He added that he had a duty to put the party aside in the interest of the residents who voted for him.

“I cannot spit in the face of the residents who elected me. Yes, the party puts you up to stand as a councillor, but I have been living in this community all my life and your face is very important when you go into an election. I am not a PR (proportional representative) councillor. I am a ward councillor, so I have been voted by name. Residents voted for Vinay Choonie,” he said.

He slammed the government under Mashaba for “rewarding” land invaders with toilets instead of evicting them from illegally occupied land.

Douglas, meanwhile, said the DA had no proof that he was among those who secretly helped collapse its government, as his vote was secret.

He defended his defiance of the party’s instruction to boycott the meeting, saying it was wrong and was not discussed by the DA’s caucus.

Politics Bureau