Limpopo DA candidates under scrutiny ahead of election list announcement

Democratic Alliance federal leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Democratic Alliance federal leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 13, 2024


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has confirmed that the party would only be announcing both its national and provincial election candidate list next week ahead of the much-anticipated May 29 elections.

The party last year announced that hundreds of aspirant party candidates for the 2024 elections, wrote tests, to determine their knowledge and understanding of the party which the list would pick from.

Its leader John Steenhuisen is expected to lead the pack, however, the most glaring pronouncement would be their Limpopo provincial list.

Until last year, the DA in Limpopo had been in limbo for years following the suspension of its embattled then-leader, Jacquis Smalle.

Smalle, who has been subject of controversy in the province, was pitted against his former ally Lindy Wilson, who bagged the provincial leader tag during the party’s elective conference in May last year, leading to Smalle assuming the position of chairperson.

The two are tipped to occupy the top two positions on the provincial list, despite both having faced their own controversies over the years, leading to dissatisfaction among Limpopo DA members.

Independent Media reported extensively about the duo’s allegations of fraud, abusing party funds and tax evasion.

In April 2021, allegations surfaced that Smalle, when he was still leader of the party in the province, with some party members accusing him of turning a blind eye to irregularities and protecting Wilson from internal prosecution, who was his staunch supporter then.

The supporters were saying Smalle had allegedly turned a blind eye to the appointment of Wilson, who was then MP, to the National Assembly, despite her history of allegedly abusing party funds.

Independent Media had seen a leaked document presented by senior DA member Anna Harris-Stone to the chairperson of the interview panel, Rory Gailey, objecting to Wilson’s appointment, the party’s internal audit report showing the discrepancies of funds paid into her account for the 2018 Ward 9 Bela-Bela bi-elections.

Pretoria News, The Star sister newspaper, had reported that one section of the document, dated 2018/07/11, showed that Wilson had spent R15 840 for the Bela-Bela bi-elections day expenses but did not outline in the financial report how that money was spent.

The document also contained sworn affidavits from three DA members confirming Wilson’s involvement in contravening the Municipal Structures Act, where Smalle and Wilson are accused of lying about an address of an elected councillor in an attempt to make him a councillor in Polokwane.

Wilson, at the time, dismissed the claims and said that the allegations were all internal matters and all had been concluded with no charges laid against her.

This is the same month and year Smalle was formally suspended by the party following fraud and tax evasion allegations.

The party’s Legal Federal Commission (LFC) had found that Smalle had been dodging paying taxes by getting his tax allowance paid into the bank account of his aide.

This was followed by the party being put under administration following the sanctions.

In June 2021, Smalle’s problems did not go away following a party insider accused him of nepotism and giving jobs to his friends.

In March last year, Smalle was reinstated which paved the way for him to be the chairperson and to be included in the list.

However, a senior member of the party said if that would be the case , members would be disgruntled.

Smalle and Wilson are apparently like oil and water with the two always bickering fighting for political power.

“They are always having screaming matches at the provincial office and are expected to be led by those people,” the senior member told The Star.

Asked for comment, Smalle said not to call him, while Wilson couldn’t be reached.

Party spokesperson Solly Malatsi refused to comment further whether Smalle and Wilson would be  on the list. “Our lists will be released publicly sometime next week.”