Tshwarelo Hunter Mogakane
While Good Party MP Brett Herron has accepted an unconditional apology from Build South Africa’s leader Mmusi Maimane over a fallout dating back to their days as DA members, he has made unflattering remarks about the right-wing opposition outfit.
Maimane and Herron left the DA at different defining moments following growing tension within the top structures of the organisation.
The public spats happened back when Good Party leader Patricia de Lille was still the mayor of Cape Town under the DA political banner.
She and a group of DA councillors claimed they wanted to change the DA’s approach to service delivery, insofar as the lives of blacks and coloureds were concerned.
At the time they stated that their attempts were met with resistance, which led them to resign from the party in 2018, resulting in the formation of Good.
According to Maimane, he took the DA’s war with De Lille and Herron to an SABC-owned radio station, where he labelled Herron a corrupt racist.
“On December 13, 2018, in a radio interview on SAfm, I stated that Brett Herron was racist, corrupt and wanted by the police. My remarks stemmed from a briefing I’d received on the contents of the Bowman’s Report on corruption in the City of Cape Town.
“Having now had ample opportunity to study the report, and consider the analysis of a trusted senior counsel, it is clear that what I said about Brett was unjustified, unfair and untrue,” said Maimane.
Maimane said he made the remarks “at a difficult time for the DA” when De Lille, Brett and others left the party.
“As the DA leader, I adopted a generally robust and adversarial stance. In respect of the Bowman’s Report, I relied on the interpretations of colleagues and on reflection I accept that my comments were unwise and ill-considered.
“I have come to understand that those with whom we disagree in the game of politics are most often strategic opponents in that moment, not our enemies,” Maimane said.
In an exclusive interview with the Pretoria News, Herron confirmed accepting Maimane’s apology, but stated that the former DA leader was acting under the pressure brought on by behind-the-scenes “white laptop boys” he was working with.
“I accept Maimane’s apology and it’s time to move on. Our country is in crisis and those of us who are privileged to be elected to serve must focus on improving the lives of the people of this country.
“It is not desirable or important for politicians to be bickering instead of doing the real work, and where possible working together. The DA’s conduct in that period exposed their values as inconsistent with mine,” he said.
Herron said instead of presenting a coherent argument in its opposition to integration and transformative justice, the DA adopted a strategy of lying about his and De Lille’s integrity.
He said they were falsely accused of everything, from corruption to maladministration and racism, leading to De Lille seeking the protection of the high court four times, in a bid to stop the slander.
“They are profoundly dishonest and dishonourable. They attempted to victimise me for fighting for the right things: spatial justice and improved public transport because in their hearts they are opposed to redress and the transformation our country still needs to achieve.
“It was shocking that Maimane allowed himself to be used by the white laptop boys who operate behind the scenes. I would obviously have preferred that the leader of the DA, at the time, had been truthful or apologised sooner. But we have spoken in person. His apology is sincere and I’m putting that behind me,” said Herron.
The DA has given birth to a number of breakaway political parties, including Good, former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA and Maimane’s Build South Africa.
DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi acknowledged receipt of media questions on Friday, but failed to provide comment.