Barely two days after party member Khume Ramulifho called it quits, plain-spoken Ghaleb Cachalia has also resigned as a Democratic Alliance (DA) member and a Member of Parliament (MP).
He announced his resignation in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday.
In his statement, Cachalia cited the “uncomfortable” party leadership as a reason for him to leave the party. He said this was fuelled by his Israel-Hamas war remarks.
“The leadership of the DA has become increasingly uncomfortable with my public utterances over the past few months. This mainly concerns issues around the war in Gaza.
“As a consequence, I have been fired from my position in the shadow cabinet, notwithstanding any connection between my erstwhile portfolio and the events referred to,” he said.
He added to a list of many members who have left the party.
Cachalia said the party accused him of contradicting DA official policy and contravening a caucus injunction to only allow the shadow minister for International Affairs to comment on related matters since his Gaza comments. “I have since received a 'Cease and Desist' notification,” he said.
Cachalia posted on X that “Israel is committing Genocide.” This caused a stir in the party, resulting in his being removed as shadow minister.
In his response to the leadership, he said, “I dispute the validity of any firm and documented policy as approved through appropriate structures. I note that no such policy is available on any DA website.
“Moreover, I have not been furnished with any caucus decision that empowers the shadow minister with sole rights of commentary on the matter.
“This evinces a growing dysfunctional, undemocratic, and authoritarian tendency in the party. I am of the firm belief that insofar as such policy may exist on the war in Gaza, I have not directly contradicted party policy in any way,” he said.
DA leader John Steenhuisen axed Cachalia from the party’s shadow cabinet for undermining his leadership and failing to adhere to the rules.
He was replaced by Mimmy Gondwe, the now-DA spokesperson on public enterprises.
He vowed to continue speaking truth to power after the DA demoted him over his pro-Palestinian remarks.
In his resignation statement, Cachalia said he will evaluate and consider his future options, which will always seek to serve human rights, economic prosperity, and a more inclusive democracy.
“I find myself unable to address and serve these aims appropriately within the confines of the DA in its current incarnation and leadership. This is pertinent as we face all-important national elections,” he said.
The DA’s national spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, welcomed Cachalia’s resignation effective immediately.
However, Malatsi rejected Cachalia’s claims against the party, done to justify his resignation, including his misrepresentation of its position on the war in Gaza.
“The DA remains irrevocably committed to peace, to a two-state solution, and the creation of a sovereign and unoccupied Palestine in peaceful co-existence next to a secure Israel,” he said in a statement.
He said Cachalia’s disrespect for the party and his colleagues had mounted over time.
Furthermore, he said the party would write to the Speaker of Parliament to fill the resulting vacancy.