The DA has been accused of having double standards when it comes to exposing corruption, with some leaders scandals swept under the carpet while others are dealt with openly.
These are the views of former DA leaders Tsepo Mhlongo and Mbali Ntuli, who accuse the party of preferential treatment, double standards and interference by its federal leader, Helen Zille.
On December 1, Mhlongo was expelled from the DA after he was allegedly found guilty of plotting to defraud the party’s electoral systems ahead of the 2024 national and provincial elections.
Mhlongo lost his membership of the National Assembly as a result of these allegations.
However, speaking publicly for the first time since his expulsion, Mhlongo claimed on Tuesday that he is the one who exposed corruption that was ignored by the party.
Mhlongo has alleged that after initiating a case of corruption against Manuel de Freitas, he was ignored by the leaders within the party.
“I initiated a case against Manuel de Freitas in 2021, alleging corruption, a matter that has faced challenges within the party. The judgement of the party was that all leaders close bank accounts.
“Manuel did not comply with the decision. He kept his accounts open, which I reported. He is the very same one who is jumping up and down trying to expose rot in the Dinokeng Music Festival,” Mhlongo said.
He claimed the party practised double standards, adding that federal leader Helen Zille interfered with his work by crediting other people who had not contributed anything.
“On October 5, I initiated a statement on anti-doping ... I was told that my statement was given to Solly Malatsi. This was after Helen Zille instructed the staff to do so,” he said.
Mhlongo’s discontent has been shared by another former DA leader in Ntuli, who alleged she too was forced to resign due to preferential treatment given to current DA leader John Steenhuisen, who contested the party’s leadership position with her in 2020.
Ntuli claims party funds were used to support Steenhuisen’s campaign.
“When I ran for DA leader in 2020, I was made aware from various quarters that party money was being used to fund John Steenhuisen’s campaign. This was in direct violation of party rules.
“During that campaign, every move I made was countered with new rules and rules being amended to hinder my campaign. In some instances, to test the party I would do the same, breaking of the rules as my opponent did, only for neither of us to be sanctioned but rather for a blanket ruling to be made,” she said.
A series of successive resignations have in the past few years raised eyebrows. These include Herman Mashaba, Mmusi Maimane, Zwakele Mncwango, Bongani Baloyi and others.
Ntuli said she is not surprised by all of this.
“It is unsurprising but still disappointing to find that in fact one the matters raised by the DA’s newly fired MP, Tsepo Mhlongo, is that he ruffled feathers by pointing out that a fellow MP used party funds to fund John’s campaign. I don’t know the extent of this charge, but it follows the rules for some and not others of this current political leadership of the DA,” she said.
Responding to the allegations, DA spokesperson Werner Horn said the DA afforded Mhlongo an opportunity to rebut the allegations levelled against him but he failed to do so.
“Mr Mhlongo was afforded an opportunity to rebut the serious accusations against him during a formal hearing of the party. He was found guilty of misconduct on the basis that he was dishonest in the performance of his duties. The mere fact that the disciplinary processes involving others who also face serious charges has not concluded yet, does not mean some members are treated favourably, ”Horn said.
On Ntuli, Horn said she was no longer a member of the party and her comments on party issues are misleading.
“Ms Ntuli has not been a member of the party for 20 months now. Her need to continue to comment on the affairs for the party reveals more about the fact that she seemingly does not have closure yet about her unsuccessful bid to be elected federal leader,” Horn said.