DA MPL Grantham Steenkamp will challenge his expulsion from the party, where he believes the termination of his membership was prematurely announced in the legislature this week.
DA MEMBER of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) Grantham Steenkamp will challenge his expulsion from the party, where he believes the termination of his membership was prematurely announced in the legislature this week.
Steenkamp was among several prominent DA members who were recently given the boot as the party gears up for the 2024 national general elections.
DA spokesperson for Sport, Arts and Culture and Member of Parliament Tsepo Mhlongo announced his departure on Wednesday, where he stated that he was treated unfairly for being outspoken about corruption within the party.
Mhlongo was charged with defrauding the DA electoral system.
Former Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga resigned after he was sacked for calling the chairperson of the DA federal council, Helen Zille, a “racist”.
Steenkamp said he had engaged with his legal representatives to apply for an urgent interdict in the Northern Cape High Court to set aside his expulsion.
“I am also willing to refer my application to the Constitutional Court to ensure that justice is served. I am still in the process of appealing my expulsion. My rights were infringed and proper procedures were not followed. Whoever is behind my expulsion orchestrated a predetermined outcome,” said Steenkamp.
He added that the latest set of charges that were brought against him were for remarks he had made regarding the attitudes of certain party members.
“I was charged for bringing the party into disrepute when I highlighted tensions among DA members. When I was given the Sol Plaatje municipal constituency, I submitted a report to the former provincial leader, Andrew Louw, and the current leader, Harold McGluwa, advising them that the party would lose support in the 2019 national general elections if they did not diffuse racial divisions. I advised them that councillors of all races should campaign in areas such as Roodepan and Galeshewe. Instead, I was wrongly accused of dividing the party along racial lines and for the loss of voter support.”
Steenkamp did not rule out the possibility that he was being targeted after he contested the provincial leadership against the current provincial leader, McGluwa, during the provincial congress in June.
“I see it as a means of eliminating the competition,” he said of his expulsion.
Steenkamp was also suspended in August 2022 along with former DA provincial leader Andrew Louw and his wife Mirriam Louw on charges of attempting to lure DA members to rival political parties, ill-discipline and failing to perform their duties.
Andrew Louw consequently left the DA and is currently the provincial leader of ActionSA.
Steenkamp added that he had no intentions to leave his political home and wished to be reinstated as an MPL.
“I won my court case when I was suspended in 2022, when they accused me of wanting to join ActionSA. At the time I informed the party that I had no intentions of leaving the DA. The charges against me were lifted when I approached the Northern Cape High Court to set my suspension aside.”
The DA chief whip in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Dr Isak Fritz, explained that Steenkamp’s membership was terminated following an “extensive and exhaustive” disciplinary process.
“Charges of misconduct relating to incidents that occurred in 2022 were investigated and not internal politics. The national decision-making structure of the DA terminated his membership and Steenkamp was informed of this decision last week before it was communicated to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature,” said Fritz.
He added that the party had a duty to inform the legislature as soon as possible.
“The termination of his membership renders him ineligible to serve as an MPL and for him to draw a salary from the public purse when he has no right to do so. Allowing him to do so is tantamount to fraud and would violate the core values of the DA.”
Fritz stated that all members were expected to abide by the party’s internal rules and code of conduct.
“Having political ambitions does not give anyone a free pass to bend any rules. It is not a witch-hunt to take appropriate action against anyone who holds themselves above the party’s code of conduct. It is regrettable that he now seeks to cast doubt over the provincial congress, which was a resounding success.”
Fritz added that they would inaugurate a new DA MPL soon.