SUNDAY TIMES - DA big names draw ire for talk of racism
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Sunday Times News By JAN-JAN JOUBERT and SIBONGAKONKE SHOBA, 2016-02-21

DA big names draw ire for talk of racism

Makashule Gana
Image: Simon Mathebula

Three DA leaders who have been vocal about racism in the party have been accused by fellow members of breaking its rules.

Theyare outspoken DA MP Makashule Gana, KwaZulu-Natal provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango, and Nicole Graham, a councillor in Durban's eThekwini metro.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane's detractors said the complaints lodged against them were an attempt by his backers to deal with dissent in party ranks and mute the racism discussion taking place there.

DA federal executive chairman James Selfe confirmed that a complaint had been received against Mncwango, apparently regarding a social media posting.

The Sunday Times understands that the complaint against Gana - also confirmed by the party - relates to an interview with the Sunday Times last month in which he said he had been a victim of racism in the party.

Graham is charged with leaking confidential internal DA discussions to the media.

Insiders said she was one of the first people to lay a formal complaint against DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard after the latter shared a Facebook post last year praising apartheid leader PW Botha.

Graham's allies said the charge was part of a fightback by Kohler Barnard's backers to deal with those who pushed for her disciplinary. Graham declined to comment.

The Sunday Times understands Graham was disciplined only after her detractors reported her to the party's national leadership.

Graham had admitted to talking to a journalist about the confidential matter, but denied deliberately leaking information. The provincial leadership had accepted her side of the story and opposed the decision to discipline her.

"We will fight [Graham's] disciplinary when it reaches the PEC [provincial executive committee]," said a provincial executive member.

The complaint against Mncwango relates to a social media update he posted last month after he was scolded by senior DA leaders for admitting in public that Penny Sparrow was a DA member.

He wrote: "It's not usual for me to be angry for more than an hour. I really need some introspection. Anger is not healthy n hv [sic] psychological effect. All I wish is to be home right now."

Mncwango told the Sunday Times he was not aware of any complaint against him.

"At this stage there is nothing. There is no charge, and most likely there will not be one," he said.

Asked for comment, Gana said: "I remain a simple guy. I remain a disciplined member of the organisation. We'll deal with it. All these complexities is not something we invited to ourselves. "

During last week's sitting of the DA federal council in Cape Town, DA federal chairman Athol Trollip berated DA members for speaking in the media about their experiences of racism in the party.

Although he did not mention Mncwango and Gana by name, some of those present perceived it as a veiled threat.