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W Cape Speaker meeting descends into ‘chaos’

Speaker Masizole Mnqasela / Picture: Robin Clark

Speaker Masizole Mnqasela / Picture: Robin Clark

Published May 25, 2022


Cape Town - AN INFORMAL Western Cape Provincial Parliament meeting saw a tense, verbal spat between speaker Masizole Mnqasela and his deputy Beverley Schäfer.

Schäfer said she was attending the meeting on behalf of the DA and not in her capacity as the deputy speaker.

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The meeting requested by the ANC descended into “a meeting from hell,” a source told Weekend Argus.

“The first eight or 10 minutes was fireworks,” the source said.

“They asked everyone to introduce themselves and normally in these meetings the speaker and his deputy are there with no political agenda but only as the leaders of the house.

“After everyone introduced themselves Schäfer did this weird thing where she said she’s representing the DA.”

Mnqasela then immediately had a heated debate with Schäfer, Weekend Argus was told.

“He said to her every time you’ve been here in your capacity as deputy speaker and now all of a sudden you’re representing the DA,” the source said.

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The Freedom Front Plus’ Peter Marais who was also in attendance was apparently “outraged”.

The ANC requested Mnqasela to convene a multi party forum to discuss the controversy regarding his press conference that occurred Sunday.

The conference was held in Mnqasela’s office after the DA announced that it reported him to the Hawks for fraud and corruption.

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The allegations relate to subsistence, travel and entertainment allowance claims.

Weekend Argus revealed that the party had asked Mnqasela to voluntarily step down while investigations were ongoing.

“The Western Cape DA caucus leader, Alan Winde, indicated to Mr Mnqasela that he should step down,” said Richard Newton, DA communications director.

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“He at the same time confirmed that he was duty bound, regardless of whether he stepped down or not, to report the matter to the Hawks and the DA.”

The ANC made reference to the Weekend Argus report in the meeting when it asked Mnqasela if he was asked to resign.

“The main concern for the ANC was that the speaker refused to confirm or deny that Premier Winde asked him to resign,” said ANC Western Cape MPL Cameron Dugmore.

“If the premier did this, it amounts to a breach of the executive ethics code of conduct,” he said.

“I will be asking the Premier this question directly.”

Cameron said the factional fissures in the DA was not only affecting the governance of the province but was now spreading to the legislature.

“Premier Winde is weak and indecisive - he continues to take instructions from the DA FedEx. “In the process the DA is increasingly divided and continues losing support,“ he said.

The faction situation follows the ANC’s Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) application that seeks access to all letters of deployment sent to DA caucuses.

The party signed the application on Tuesday May 24. The email will be sent to DA provincial leader Tertius Simmers on Thursday.