Cachalia not fazed by ousting over Israel-Gaza war remarks

Ghaleb Cachalia has vowed to remain steadfast in his fight against human rights abuse despite his ousting from the DA’s shadow ministry.

On Thursday, DA leader John Steenhuisen removed Cachalia from his shadow cabinet following a post in which the former shadow minister of public enterprises protested the ongoing Israel attack on the Palestinians.

The conflict, which has now entered its 28th day, has been deemed the deadliest episode in a series of battles in the Gaza Strip.

The deadly attacks, which commenced on October 7 when the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched attacks on Israel, have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives including numerous children and civilians who are caught in the crossfire.

In his X post, Cachalia condemned the attacks and accused Israel of genocide. He stated: “I will not be silenced. Israel is committing genocide. Full BLOODY stop”. 

Notice of removal

In a leaked letter dated November 2, Steenhuisen described Cachalia’s actions as “defiant” and “selfish”.

He said the erstwhile shadow minister violated the instructions of the party’s parliamentary caucus guiding its members on how to behave with regards to matters of the conflict.

“When engaged about your assertion that you were being ‘silenced’, as well as your disregard for a caucus decision that you had substantially contributed to less than two weeks earlier, you remained defiant,” said Steenhuisen.

“It subsequently emerged that you also engaged the media on this matter in a way that further fuels division.

“Your conduct amounts to a display of remarkable selfishness. You have demonstrated a disregard for a formal decision of the DA’s national caucus.”

The DA leader added that Cachalia’s conduct was disrespectful to his fellow members.

“Even worse, your conduct is deeply disrespectful towards your colleagues – many of whom feel equally strongly about this and other matters, but have nonetheless continuously engaged with each other, with the party, and with the public in an appropriately respectful manner.

“Your conduct, in wilful violation of a caucus decision, is deeply undermining of my leadership and unbecoming of someone who holds a senior position in my shadow cabinet.”

 Cachalia’s response

Responding to Steenhuisen and media enquiries, Cachalia confirmed that he received the leaked letter and would not contest it because it is the prerogative of the party’s leader to appoint and dismiss.

He said, however, that his dismissal does not discourage him from staying loyal to the party.

“I entered politics to remove [former president Jacob] Zuma and followed through to eradicate his legacy of ineptitude and malfeasance which persists in the current ANC,” he said.

“I will persevere in this regard in the run-up to the election next year. I will continue to keep a watchful eye on human rights abuses here and globally, and will always speak truth to power.

“I remain loyal to the values and principles of the DA. This is what always prompted and guided me to speak up against abuse.

“I will now proceed to perform my legislative and oversight duties from the backbenches and will ensure that I serve the party and the nation in continuing what I began.

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