Port Elizabeth - Former Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape chairwoman Veliswa Mvenya has cited the DA's federal chairman, Athol Trollip, who is also Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, as the reason she left the party.
Mvenya finally broke her silence on the reasons why she left the DA when speaking on Umhlobo Wenene on Friday morning, alleging that Trollip made "life a living hell", claims Trollip denies.
Mvenya resigned from the DA as a party member and its member of Eastern Cape provincial legislature in May after almost two decades with the party. Her resignation came shortly after that of former provincial premier Nosimo Balindlela who also resigned and rejoined the African National Congress (ANC).
At the time, Mvenya said she needed some rest, time to reflect and to decide on her next political move.
But during the radio show on Friday morning Mvenya said she had resigned because she was tired of fighting against Trollip. "I was not happy because in the DA I realised that to be happy one has to please one man and that is Trollip.
"The more I grew up in the party, the more I was becoming unhappy in the organisation because I was challenging things, but doing so turned me against Trollip. I am a free, independent thinker, but exercising my independent thinking at the DA became a problem and Trollip turned party members against me," she said.
Mvenya accused Trollip of running a "one man show" in the DA, controlling lists of party members who served in the provincial legislature and also the National Assembly.
She said: "When Julius [Malema] said 'DA is one man show' I laughed because there's someone else who sees it. I was dubbed as the 'stupid woman' in the provincial legislature and also branded as the 'gatekeeper' because during my time as chairperson I questioned certain decisions, and when Trollip had to explain them to his people, he said it was due to my gatekeeping."
Mvenya said most people who were attacking her in the party were black and turned against her under Trollip's influence.
"I was also called mediocre and those DA members who had associated themselves with me were called a party of mediocre," said Mvenya.
She said even DA national leader Mmusi Maimane did not help her after she reported her issues with Trollip to him.
"I went to Maimane's office in Cape Town and reported everything but he did not assist me," Mvenya said.
She added that she is having peaceful nights since she left the party, but is yet to decide on her next political move. "I have not joined any political party, I am still reflecting," she said.
Meanwhile, Trollip denied Mvenya claims and said he did not know why she made such allegations. "We used to work well together. I was elected as [Eastern Cape] provincial leader on six occasions and she was a friend and protégé. I don't know where she lost the plot."
Trollip said in Mvenya's absence the DA had recorded massive growth at Ngquza Hill Municipality in the recent by-elections.
"No one is indispensable in politics, our DA brand is bigger than any one of us."