The Democratic Alliance (DA), the chief opposition party in South Africa, is in turmoil and multiple prominent party members have resigned amid competing allegations of corruption and racism.
A top member of the committee overseeing the city of Cape Town just became the ninth DA member to resign in a week, following resignations by Cape Town’s mayor and several other members of the mayoral committee.
Mayoral committee member Brett Herron, who oversaw transportation and urban development in the city, announced his resignation on Thursday, according to South African media outlet The Citizen.
Charges of corruption
Herron’s announcement came just one day after he had been named in a report on criminal corruption charges against now-former Mayor Patricia De Lille.
The report seemed to indicate that Herron was involved in a procurement process scandal, but Herron disputed the report’s findings and pointed out that it provided no real evidence linking him to any sort of crime or corruption.
But there may be a completely different reason for Herron’s abrupt exit from the Democratic Alliance … racism within the party.
Racism within the DA party
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Herron suggested that the impetus for his sudden resignation was the cancellation of an affordable and racially-integrated housing project he had planned for the city.
— nomawethu solwandle (@noma_solwandle) November 1, 2018
Holding up a Democratic Alliance booklet, Herron declared, “This manifesto promises to integrate communities, it is written in the manifesto. The promise to integrate communities is a lie, and I’ve been wasting my time trying to implement this while behind the scenes the insiders have been killing the projects off.”
“I told my staff, my office staff, that if we undertake all of this work and the caucus rejected it — as I heard that they are planning to do — I would have to resign, as I could not with any credibility continue to meet with communities and promise them that we were doing everything we can to assist them,” he continued.
“I therefore resign as a member of the DA with immediate effect,” Herron added. “I hope through my exposure of these immoral actions that public pressure will be brought to bear on the elected representatives who made these promises and who are denying housing and opportunities to our citizens who need it the most.”
It remains unclear if Herron’s charge of racism within the DA will stick and prompt any introspection or reform, or if his claims will be summarily dismissed as a red herring from a politician caught up in corruption charges.