A source said it had been assumed that donors would be back when Helen Zille took over as federal council chairperson.
Johannesburg – While the Democratic Alliance has announced that it will start with its retrenchment processes, some members within the party have attributed the impending job losses to the party’s financial woes.
The opposition party says its decision to embark on internal restructuring is aimed at improving its operational effectiveness as per recommendations made by its review committee last year.
In a letter sent to employees on Tuesday, the federal council said it had begun acting on a decision to initiate “a section 189A (retrenchment) process in terms of the Labour Relations Act, 54 of 1996”.
“The decision was taken with a profound appreciation for the impact this may have on our staff during this time of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this decision is necessary to ensure we remain a robust and effective opposition party focused on accountability, growing our vote and remaining financial viable,” read the letter.
DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi on Wednesday confirmed that the party was finalising a process of laying off its staff members but declined to say how many people would be affected.
However, a senior party leader, who did not want to be named, said the retrenchments were due to the fact the party was struggling financially as a result of being abandoned by traditional funders in favour of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“They are hiding behind the review committee, but the truth is that the DA is running out of money, which is why two weeks ago we were begging for donations for legal cases. Our donors have left and they are now giving money to Ramaphosa. We don’t even know if we are going to have funds for elections, as donors say they don’t trust that the DA is still viable because we always complain,” the leader said.
Another source said it had been assumed that donors would be back when Helen Zille took over as federal council chairperson.
“Donors have not come back as they are not fools. They know that we will never govern the country with the way we run the party.
“We have already lost a chance of being a majority party and we are holding on to few voters as a result. The donors have also turned to Freedom Front Plus and AfriForum as the EFF is already taking over as the official opposition in Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga,” said the source.
Another office-based source indicated that most affected staff members were employed under Mmusi Maimane’s administration.
“We are talking about top to bottom employees who include office workers, marketers and organisers who are most effective when it comes to party events such as recruitment and campaigns, and our head office would be severely trimmed.
“After they had retrenched last year, they said they were now fine and they would no longer retrench, but they are now retrenching again,” said the source.
However, Malatsi denied that the party had a cash-flow problem.
“The organisation is in a financially healthy position,” said Malatsi.
Meanwhile, the party, which first indicated its intentions to initiate retrenchments after the general elections last year, says it is now consulting with the affected employees.
“While this process may cause some disruption and anxiety, we take comfort in the resilience of our staff comfort knowing that together we will ensure this process is done correctly and with the necessary respect for each other,” read the letter sent to employees.