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From ‘offensive’ jokes to ‘racist’ posters: Five DA scandals this year

24 December 2021 - 07:00
Phumzile Van Damme resigned from the DA in May this year.
Phumzile Van Damme resigned from the DA in May this year.
Image: REUTERS/Neil Hall

Resignations, racism and post-matric qualifications are some of the things that saw the DA make news headlines this year.

Here’s a look back at five times the official opposition party had us talking: 

Natasha Mazzone and the Wikipedia page 

In April, Good’s Brett Herron questioned DA chief whip Mazzone’s post-matric qualifications amid claims she edited her Wikipedia page to remove the word “advocate” from her qualifications in her biography.

Responding, Mazzone said her lack of a post-matric qualification was a well-known fact and she always teased herself about only having a matric pass.

She said Herron was a “sick and damaged man” who waited for the morning after her father’s death to take a dig at her.

Bonginkosi Madikizela resigns after degree scandal

In the same month, former Western Cape leader Madikizela resigned from the DA after he claimed to have a degree he did not possess in his biography on the provincial government website.

His resignation also meant abandoning his bid to become the mayor of Cape Town. 

Phumzile Van Damme quits DA, cites ‘clique’ of individuals 

The former MP and shadow minister of communications quit the party in May, a decision she attributed to a “clique” of individuals rather than claims about the DA being a racist party.

She said she was leaving on her own terms and made clear she would not be joining any other political party. 

“To be clear, I will not be joining another political party. Nor will I be using my time to launch attacks on the DA,” said Van Damme.

JP Smith's controversial ‘joke’

Cape Town mayoral committee member JP Smith landed in hot water in September after a video clip of him refusing to pronounce the surname of broadcaster Abongile Nzelenzele went viral. 

In the viral clip, Smith said Nzelenzele’s surname had “too many vowels too awkwardly placed”.

The video garnered criticism online.

Smith later told TimesLIVE this was an inside joke between himself and Nzelenzele and was not meant to be offensive. 

Mike Waters resigns amid backlash over ‘racist’ election posters 

Former DA MP and party campaign manager for Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, Waters resigned in October after the DA opted to remove posters erected in Phoenix, north of Durban, during the local government election campaign season. 

The controversial posters said“The ANC called you racists, the DA calls you heroes”. This was in reference to vigilante groups in the predominantly Indian township accused of killing black people during the unrest and looting in July. 


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