Three quit DA over Kohler Barnard furore
Cape Town - A DA proportional representative councillor has abandoned his Durbanville office and R35 000-a-month salary, with benefits, to defect to the ANC citing “systematic racism” which was highlighted when DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard shared a Facebook post calling for the resurrection of PW Botha.
Cyril Mack, the PR councillor for Ward 67, was joined by his secretary Danny Bolton and his UWC student activist son Grant as they shed their blue DA T-shirts for yellow ones, to the delight of ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman.
The former DA members and councillor left their prominent positions within the party to become ordinary ANC members on Tuesday at the party’s offices in Sahara House in Cape Town’s city centre.
Fransman attributed their move to Kohler Barnard “exposing” herself and the “deep-seated racism” that is a “true reflection of DA racism”.
Mack said he did not take the decision lightly but decided he could not stick with the DA’s “false values” any longer.
“MP Denise Robinson, the DA’s political head in Durbanville and Blaauberg constituency, has worked against these values, showing ineptitude as political head and ultimately showed failure of leadership. Her racist refusal to embrace diversity and maintain unity within DA structures and its activists reflects the hardliner style of maintaining white supremacy.
“She is self promoting and riding on the backs of motivated activists,” he said.
Mack said DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis perpetuated the fear of the apartheid ideology – the “swart gevaar” – when he referred to jobseekers from the Eastern Cape as “an influx of great numbers” during a recent meeting.
He said he “deplored” the DA’s apparent “soft-handed” approach in dealing with Kohler Barnard, who was this week moved from her post as police spokesman to deputy spokesman of public works.
“This approach is totally in contravention with the DA’s code of conduct. Was it (DA leader) Mmusi Maimane or James Selfe who initiated this soft approach?”
Fransman echoed Mack’s sentiments by asking if this shift, referred to as a “demotion”, was enough to tackle the racist post.
“This happened while the party prepared for its disciplinary hearing on the matter which is scheduled for Friday,” he said.
DA metro chairman Shaun August said the DA was aware that Mack signed up with the ANC, which he called a “minority party”.
“The DA uses diplomacy processes when any allegation is made to the party of any member being out of step with our values.
“This happened with Kohler Barnard, who was put through the most serious steps available to the DA.
“She was immediately removed from her position of shadow minister,” he said.
August would not comment on the claim of “systematic racism” in the DA.
The African News Agency (ANA) reports that the DA’s Western Cape deputy leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said Mack was “not doing very well” and had received a vote of no confidence from ward members.
However, Madikizela said he would not deny racism existed within the DA but added the party constantly worked to tackle bigotry within its ranks.
Madikizela said he felt sorry for Mack, his son, and Bolton.
“I wish them all the best,” he said.
“But it’s like exchanging your laptop for a typewriter.”