Resignations, rallies and running for mayor

Can you imagine how awkward it must have been for the Democratic Alliance when it published a statement saying it had accepted the resignation of one its members, Phumzile van Damme, when, er, she hadn’t resigned from the party but had quit her role as an MP? Van Damme had to clarify this point on Twitter. But we’re wondering why the DA was so quick to say goodbye? 🤨 

Van Damme referenced a clique of individuals as her reason for leaving Parliament. She has publicly clashed with party leader John Steenhuisen, who removed her from his cabinet and allegedly forced her into taking a sabbatical. 

We’re as confused as you are about the official opposition’s game plan as it continues to sideline black leaders. 

In fact, the party seems to be doubling down on appealing to a minority of the population. A song and dance routine at its virtual rally this past weekend went viral for all the wrong reasons. Afrikaans music performer Andriëtte Norman performed what many called a cringe-worthy medley of local hits: Mango Groove’s Dance Sum More, Kurt Darren’s Kom Bietjie Hier and, of course, “Jerusalema“ by Master KG. Some criticised Williams’s mispronunciation of the African lyrics at the end of the hit song. The party’s Federal Council Chair Helen Zille lashed out at critics, calling Mango Groove’s YouTube version of THEIR OWN SONG “pitiful” compared to the rally’s performance. We have no words. 😂

Nevertheless, a whopping 11000 people tuned in to the rally, which offered a good example of how campaigning can be conducted responsibly in a pandemic ahead of this year’s local government election. 

Meanwhile, former DA member and leader of his own party ActionSA, Herman Mashaba, is running for the position of Joburg mayor in the local elections. He was a fairly popular albeit controversial mayor, so he has a decent shot of getting in. It’ll be good for multiparty democracy, but we hope he steers clear of the dodgy deals he did with the EFF last time. Watch our previous deep dive into his time as mayor here

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates