The court action brought by Lennit Max to challenge the results of the party’s Western Cape conference, which he lost, will reveal the true colours of the DA, writes KHALID SAYED
Under normal circumstances and all attention to party flaws being equal, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Committee should be facing a class-action suit for fraud and deception in how they conducted the Western Cape Provincial Elective Congress.
The DA Constitution, under Rule 5 which deals with Provincial Structures, clearly states that subject to the provisions of the Federal Constitution, systems must be prescribed that will help to ensure democracy, transparency and good governance. One would assume that the intention of this constitutional imperative is to ensure that there are no biases, partiality or a Federal executive support for one person over another, one candidate over the other at a provincial level.
On 9 October 2017, DA MPL Lennit Max made his intention to challenge the outcomes of the DA Western Cape Provincial elective congress known and requested all electoral material from the DA Federal Chairperson before lodging an official appeal.
The main contention of Max was that there were a total of 987 registered party delegates at the DA Western Cape congress, but the total results which Max lost to Bonginkosi Madikizela by 510 votes to 494 (had a tally of 1,004 votes). This meant the tallied results number was more than the registered voting delegates by 17 votes.
There is here a potential that the DA broke with its own constitution in favouring one Provincial candidate over the other and manipulated votes to ensure their favoured candidate succeed. This is outright fraud and punishable by law.
It is critical that this matter must go to court because it has the potential to awaken and expose the DA’s white conservative wing that has sought to pull other gullible leaders by strings behind the scenes, creating puppets towards a particular self-serving end. It is only the courts that can empower leaders to stand up to old money and push back the manipulative power-brokers who do not value democracy and human life.
It has been an open secret that Bonginkosi Madikizela has the support of Helen Zille and the conservative wing of the party, the group that really matters. It has equally been public knowledge that Lennit Max has at best an antagonistic relationship with Zille and by extension this old white male wing of the party.
Two years ago, in 2015, Max accused Zille of spying on him and using black leaders as a pawn for herself indulgent plans. Max was pushing back against Zille’s tendency to use black faces to protect the interests of the white rich minority. Madikizela, on the other hand, has been happily pliant to be a black pawn, happy to defend Zille’s crass and crude utterances and quick to go for other black leaders at the slightest offence.
Of course, the old money with their propaganda machines has always sought to use that machinery even among their own, falsely misdirecting them to the real enemy, the ANC as the main focus, so that they should never waste time questioning the lack of democracy, transparency and honesty within the organisation.
It’s important for the DA to know the things that are holding them back from winning, even as the ANC is going through its worst era since its founding. The inability of the DA to actually win speaks volumes of the numbing weight that sits heavy on the organisation making it unable to rise when the ANC is in a free fall. Let’s be clear, the DA did not win anything in the last elections, a point the EFF is always at pains to emphasise when the DA is misbehaving.
It is this dishonesty, lip-service democracy, and divisive governance that sits heavy on the organisation and even as it seems Lennit Max is going against the party, in fact, he may well be saving the organisation from itself.
Allowing democratic processes to flow freely and Lennit Max taking over the reins could have been very good for DA which is seen as choosing pliant and small-minded blacks who are careerists and ready to put on their yes-baas attitude to maintain their personal lot. Max could give the DA a chance at redemption and rescue it from the current stratification that is stopping them from winning real votes.
The courts need to prove that Lennit Max did not get more votes than Bonginkosi Madikizela and they need to explain where the 17 extra votes came from. There are people, whether the DA likes it or not, who will feel that the Democratic Federal Executive was unfair to Max and there is no telling how these people will react on the DA vote and how many they are.
Since the fallout between Max and Zille, he has been treated with disdain and suspicion by the party establishment and painted as a rogue element that does not toe the party line. This is not unlike Mbali Ntuli at the KZN legislature, or Patricia De Lille in the Cape Town metro, both of whom today no longer hold any political positions.
Given the experience around the country and elsewhere, the courts may have to demand email exchanges between DA staff members and DA Federal Executive members to ascertain whether there was no intentional collusion against Max in favour of Madikizela, a man who has proven himself as ready to lick his way to the top of the white chain.
After the emails, the courts must further demand bank account records in order to ascertain that there was not party money or Fed Council member’s money which was channelled to Madikizela and his team in order to give him an edge over Max. The only fundraising the Fed Council would be expected to make is for general elections and to fund the mechanics of the conference and not a particular candidate.
This is more than a Max crusade for justice but a process of making a manipulative, dishonest, un-transparent and undemocratic organisation to account. It is a process of calling out an organisation that uses pliant and weak black people who have always treasured emoluments from the white cabal at the expense of black people.
It is a process of exposing the DA for what it is. As Gillian Schutte said, ‘The discourse of liberalism remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks to real transformation and social cohesion in South Africa’. The DA remains the biggest stumbling block to real transformation and social cohesion in South Africa
Sayed is the Provincial Chairperson of the ANC Youth League in the Western Cape