Johannesburg - An underwhelming showing at the 2019 elections, including allegations of a “squandered” R400million campaign chest, has resulted in job losses for DA staff as funders ditch “a sinking ship”.
These new revelations come after reports last week that the party was unable to pay its staff bonuses this year because of cash-flow problems.
The Star has seen a letter dated September 3, 2019, written by DA chief executive Paul Boughey, informing staff members that the party would look into cutting jobs to meet its 2021 local government “elections objectives”, including the organisation’s “financial obligations”.
“This is an unfortunate situation, and we acknowledge that this is a difficult time. However, it is as a result of looking at several alternatives to streamlining our operations over the last while that we have reached a decision to embark on a restructuring process,” Boughey wrote.
“We will ensure that this process is carried out with the highest level of sensitivity and it will be concluded in a reasonable manner,” he added.
Sources close to the DA have revealed that party funders “had started ditching the sinking ship” because of its almost 1.5% drop in support at the May general elections from 2014, which supposedly necessitated the slicing of jobs.
It was also claimed that the DA, which apparently had a R400m war chest to fight the election, “squandered” the money through alleged corruption, including one Gauteng field support officer who was apparently robbed twice of R60000 of party funds in separate incidents.
“The staff members were informed that the DA will be retrenching them due to party funders pulling out their financial support after the dismal showing by the DA at the May elections.
“Mike Moriarty, DA Gauteng provincial chairperson, informed the Gauteng provincial council in June that one field support officer got robbed twice of R60000 on two different occasions. This is an example of how the R400m was misappropriated,” said a source, who asked to remain anonymous.
The Star directed questions to the DA’s national leadership, as well as its Gauteng and Mpumalanga structures, where the retrenchment letters were first served.
Speaking on their behalf, DA communications director Mabine Seabe said the party had initiated its “organisational review" following the May polls, as is the norm after every election. He neither confirmed nor denied the party's elections fund amount.
Seabe added that to focus on the 2021 local elections, the DA had “to review the resources available to it and align operations accordingly".
“This sensitive matter has been discussed by senior leadership and management, and all political staff are being consulted by the HR department and their line managers.
“The discussions are between employer and employee and therefore the specifics will remain private between the parties concerned. This process is in line with our professional and forward-looking approach,” Seabe explained.
On allegations of misappropriation of funds, Seabe said the DA operated with the “highest level of professionalism in all that it does”.
“Funding, whether from public or private donors, is managed to the highest possible standard. All campaign rand have been accounted for, and where there are outstanding invoices, consequence management has been effected,” Seabe said.