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DA is ‘in a mess’

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A party member pointed out that if branches were not properly constituted, it reflected a non-existent party

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A NUMBER of DA members believe that the “contaminated” membership database is an orchestrated tactic to manipulate the outcome of the election of the new party leadership in the Northern Cape.

The current provincial leader, Andrew Louw, and Safiyia Stanfley were intending to contest the leadership of the party in September last year.

The Federal Council, at the end of the book year in March 2017, found that the membership database was not an accurate reflection of the actual registered members.

While the elections were postponed until February, March or April this year, DA members are doubtful whether it will take place in the near future.

A party member pointed out that if branches were not properly constituted, it reflected a non-existent party.

“The provincial congress is long overdue and needs to be attended to as quickly as possible. It is a big, fat mess that is being downplayed. It is an attempt to derail a change in the leadership and to hand pick who will lead the party. It has nothing to do with merit or service delivery. It is exclusively for cronies and their families. The culprits must be named and shamed.”

Another member stated that if the provincial congress had gone ahead with the current membership database, the outcome would have been contested in court.

“This would be a repeat of what is happening in the ANC. We have not heard anything further as to how this will be resolved.

“During the audit, up to 20 percent of the members contacted did not exist or indicated that they were not DA members. In other instances the registration fees were paid by a third party. The high discrepancy raises a lot of suspicions.”

He pointed out that the verification of every single member is a tedious, logistical nightmare because the Province is vast and people often change their contact details and addresses.

“The current database could have resulted from a deliberate attempt by incumbent leaders to influence the lists. Members are also under an enormous amount of pressure to sign up members. The membership could have been inflated by ‘kitchen farming’ where graveyard or ghost members were signed up.”

One member stated that the impact of the provincial delegates not being able to participate in the national congress to elect the national leadership in April, would not have a huge impact.

“Existing Members of Parliament and Members of the Provincial Legislature will not be affected and will serve out their terms of office.”

Another member welcomed the measures taken by the Federal Council to delay the elections.

“The playing fields need to be fair and transparent. The leadership cannot be voted in if it is a sham. No one is above the regulations and the law, regardless of their rank in the party. It is time that they cleaned up the rot in the Province.”

DA Federal Executive chairperson James Selfe did not respond to media enquiries.

According to a report in another newspaper, Selfe had acknowledged that some of the branches did not have verified lists, which could create problems during the provincial congress.

He added that they would refer any irregularities to the police, Hawks and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, although this process would take some time.

Selfe had indicated that the provincial administration would be placed under scrutiny in the lead up to the 2019 national general elections.