DA MP Sej Motau was removed from his position as labour spokesman because he failed to properly execute his duties, party parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Monday.
She said his poor performance misled the party into “wrongfully” voting in favour of the Employment Equity Bill.
Mazibuko has since shifted Motau and his former deputy, Andricus van der Westhuizen, to the economic development portfolio. She appeared to contradict Motau’s claims that he had always wanted to be moved to the economic cluster because he had relevant academic qualifications.
Motau made the claims on Sunday after he became the fall guy for the DA’s decision to support the pro-black economic empowerment bill.
The decision was later publicly criticised by party leader Helen Zille, who accused the parliamentary caucus of having backed a bill that would “harm rather than promote redress”.
“They both failed to effectively inform the caucus about the bill. Had they informed us properly we would have voted differently,” said Mazibuko.
“He and Van der Westhuizen did not misinform us deliberately. It’s just that they did not execute their duty the way it was expected of them.
“They are not failures, which is why Motau had been moved to head the economic desk and Van der Westhuizen continues to be his deputy.”
Motau and Van der Westhuizen on Monday refused to comment on Mazibuko’s assertions.
“I accepted my new job and I did my previous job to the best of my ability. I have already said what I wanted to say and I’m not prepared to enter into a public debate with the leadership,” Motau said.
Van der Westhuizen said “under the circumstances I will not comment at all”.
Mazibuko, who also accepted responsibility for the mess, said the DA had since taken measures to implement a new system of informing the caucus about the bills.
She said the party was against the Employment Equity Bill because it implemented ANC policies, was punitive and hostile towards employers.
“We want a bill that would make sure that black people are promoted on merit after they had met all requirements.
“Black people should be trained properly so that the country can have a big pool of qualified black professionals,” said Mazibuko.
Former DA leader Tony Leon was among the first to attack the DA for supporting it.
Political analyst Protas Madlala said disagreements over the Employment Equity Bill should not be interpreted as major divisions in the party.
“They are bound to differ on certain issues. Especially with this issue they differ because Helen Zille is pro-corporate, and she protects business interests while others take a different position because they are black,” Madlala said.