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Potholes, 'humility' & 'retrogressive behaviour': Inside Mpho Phalatse's war of words with former DA leaders

06 June 2022 - 16:02
Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse has hit back at former DA leader Tony Leon and former chief whip Mike Waters. File photo.
Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse has hit back at former DA leader Tony Leon and former chief whip Mike Waters. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse had social media timelines in meltdown mode on Monday when she hit back at former DA leader Tony Leon and former deputy chief whip Mike Waters.

The war of words started when Leon weighed in on Phalatse closing a strategic planning session by arguing that fixing infrastructure was more important than planning sessions.

“Fix potholes, traffic lights and pavements. That, far more than strategic planning sessions, will win the allegiance of your voters,” he told the mayor.

The DA caucus in Johannesburg asked Leon to indicate which lights were an issue and where the potholes in question were located. He replied: "I’m advised every day of these. Anyway, if there aren’t any ignore my tweet".

Phalatse was not impressed by the “trolling” and told Leon if he wanted to contribute to rebuilding the city he could send an e-mail.

Phalatse responded to claims that her response was “rude and insulting”, questioning why criticism was not levelled at Leon and arguing “it's not the first time he's done this”.

Former MP Mike Waters joined the conversation, calling Phalatse's comments “extremely disrespectful” and claiming she would not be mayor without Leon.

“Extremely disrespectful, to say the least. If it were not for Tony the DP/DA would not exist and you certainly would not be mayor. A little humility is in order,” he said.

Phalatse hit back, saying it was DA members that made the party and she would not stay silent.

“What’s even more concerning is that you actually believe what you’ve written. The people of the DA make the party, each and every single one of them. We will not stand by and allow retrogressive behaviour to fester in the name of humility.”

Waters claimed Phalatse was "ignorant" and repeated his calls for humility.

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