DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia has tendered his resignation from the party following a dispute over his comments on the Gaza war.
Cachalia made the announcement on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, citing concerns over a growing dysfunction and authoritarian tendencies.
Clashes over Gaza war comments
A key point of contention leading to his departure was a clash with the party leadership regarding his public comments on the war in Gaza.
Cachalia said he was fired from his position in the shadow cabinet for contradicting party policy. He said he also received a “Cease and Desist” notification.
However, he disputes the validity of the policy, citing its absence on the DA website and a lack of communication on caucus decisions.
Exclusion from election list
Cachalia has expressed his discomfort within the party leadership. He also voiced concerns about being sidelined and excluded from the 2024 elections.
“I cannot but infer that party leadership intends, not only to sideline me, but also to prevent my return as a candidate MP on the list for the 2024 elections. Over the same period I have repeatedly sought meetings with the leader and requested mediation processes to be instituted. Such requests have been met with silence.
“The party leader has since said he is open to mediation, contingent on me furnishing him with an apology in advance of any mediation,” he said.
Disrespect for party stance on war comments
In response, DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi has strongly refuted the outgoing MP’s claims. Malatsi defended the party’s stance on the Gaza conflict, criticising Cachalia for misrepresenting it.
Malatsi also accused Cachalia of disrespecting party processes and colleagues. He dismissed attempts to blame DA Leader John Steenhuisen. The party spokesperson highlighted Cachalia’s prior support for him.
“His disrespect for party processes, for his colleagues, and for the diversity of views in the DA has mounted over time. [It has] culminated in his violation of a caucus decision that the party’s shadow minister for international relations and cooperation would be the spokesperson on the war in Gaza,” Malatsi said.
Rejects attacks on party’s coalition partners
“The DA further rejects his attack on the party’s coalition partners, on civil society that has rallied behind the Multi-Party Charter, and on the DA’s systems and processes.
“The party rejects Cachalia’s attempts to scapegoat Steenhuisen. They are belied by his support for Steenhuisen during the party’s recent Federal Congress. Less than a year ago, Cachalia declared on Facebook his ‘admiration’ for Steenhuisen. Pointing out that he ‘walks the talk’ as a leader.”