The DA has been rocked by the resignation of another senior black leader just a few weeks after former Gauteng leader John Moodey dumped the party amid allegations of racism.
Phillip de Lange, the official opposition’s Ekurhuleni council caucus leader, has quit the organisation as the succession battle intensifies towards the party’s elective conference next month.
DA insiders said De Lange, who was also the party leader in the region, was one of the vocal black leaders who has been a target of the white cabal that is dominating the organisation since the election of John Steenhuisen as interim leader and Helen Zille as federal council chairwoman last October.
Sunday World reported that black leaders believed that the party’s federal legal commission (FLC) was being used as a “hit squad” to purge those opposed to Steenhuisen becoming the party’s leader.
Black leaders who used to support the party’s former leader, Mmusi Maimane, were also apparently on the FLC’s “hit list” or on its radar.
De Lange, who was a member of the party’s federal executive, confirmed that he dumped the party last week.
“I will give an explanation of my resignation in full at a later stage once my consultation with my legal team is concluded,” he said.
Asked whether black leaders were being targeted in the DA, De Lange said: “I have my opinion on this. There is some truth in it.”
Those said to be targeted include feisty MP Phumzile van Damme, Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana and KwaZulu-Natal leader Zwakele Mncwango. Former youth leader Mbali Ntuli, who is also vying to become party leader, is also said to be unpopular among the cabal.
In his resignation speech, Moodey said Maimane earned the wrath of white liberals when he introduced diversity to the party’s policy offering.
“Tensions within the party between the liberals and the rest of us more concerned with inclusivity was on the rise. In fact, there was an attempt by some of these liberals at forming a liberal party in the lead up to the 2019 elections.”
DA spokesman Solly Malatsi confirmed De Lange’s exit from the party but denied it had anything to do with race. “There is absolutely no truth to those views. It is not factual at all,” he said.