No answers from the DA

‘Cause there ain’t no answers available!

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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 28 September 2012. 07h30. Today is International Right to Know Day.

And South Africa’s socalled “Open Opportunity Society” Party is still petulantly refusing to answer questions posed by OO.

I wrote the DA’s provincial media manager Wednesday morning…

Beste Liza

Ons telefoongesprek Dinsdag om 08h02 verwys.

Tensy ek tot die teendeel van jou verneem teen 17h00 vandag, sal ek aanvaar dat die DA nie bereid is om my vrae oor die “outomatiese” beëindiging van Johann Brummer se lidmaatskap, en verwante vrae, te beantwoord nie.

Ek het die een en die ander te vra oor Brummer se opvolger, Sumeia Ndayi, maar ek wonder of dit die moeite werd is om elektrone rond te jaag as die DA in elk geval nie wil antwoord nie.

Miskien kan jy my advies gee? Selfs in die afwesigheid van antwoorde?

Daar’s nog ánder onbeantwoorde vrae wat al máánde uitstaande is:

Sewe vrae oor ‘n onwettige raadsbesluit van Bitou; vrae oor sonering en ontwikkeling in Plettenbergbaai; en véle oor Oudtshoorn.

Yukio Mishima het per geleentheid gesê: “When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning.”

I shall publish an extensive amalysis of the DA’s “marketing strategy” over the week-end.

Interesting, to be sure, it promises to be.

Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 26 September 2012. 07h30. It is now abundently clear that the DA acted grossly inconsistently in terminating the membership of Bitou councillor Johann Brummer.

Because an “accusation of partiality” is levied against OO, I state for the record – for the umpteenth time – that I am not an apologist for Brummer, my friendship with him nontheless.

Brummer can be a difficult curmudgeon and if the DA has disciplinary problems with him, the DA should charge him and all should honour the fair outcome.

But the blazen inconsistency and gross prejudice of the Brummer termination – with alarming consequences for the ratepayers and residents of Bitou and equal backwashes for the DA in the area – call for some rumination.

Only four of “some 37” DA councillors earmarked for “automatic” termination were, in fact, terminated.

This makes a mockery of the “automatic” argument.

One councillor, Beauty Charlie of Knysna, simply accepted the outcome and is done with her tenure.

Another, Jemayne Andrews of Cape Town, won iterim relief in the High Court and will fight her termination. The DA has subsequently acknowledged a “ligte mistykie*” in the “automated process” in her case. But Andrews is bent on court action.

The case of yet another victim of the “ghost in the machine”, Beverley Cortjé-Alcock of Cape Town, is a rather interesting one.

Cortjé-Alcock was, and apparently remained so until very recently, “close” to DA leader Helen Zille.

Gritty DA functionaries interviewed by OO suggest that this political intimacy may be the very reason for Cortjé-Alcock’s termination. This beguiling banter has motivated me to dig somewhat deeper and a report on my findings is forthcoming.

The plot, as the cliché goes, is sickening.

Then there is the case of Theresa Thompson of Cape Town.

This councillor was allowed to make arrangements, as late as September 10, to pay her outstanding candidate fee.

OO has proof of this arrangement, and the date thereof, but the information may adversely affect specific High Court actions if published at this time. The complete facts, however, will be published in good time.

The DA owes answers to its supporters, members, office bearers and elected and appointed functionaries.

This much is certain.

A provincial executive told me, on two seperate occasions, that “we do not treat people this way” and that “this is no way to treat people”.

A senior functionary of the provincial government told me that “automatic terminations” stand no chance is court and has no place in a democracy.

A Western Cape cabinet member advised the leadership not to terminate members in default. He said, quite poetically, that Brummer would go out like Samson – taking the temple down with him.

Considering the latest intelligence about DA support in Bitou – the true numbers; not the botoxed ones – the minister’s prediction may well proof to be accurate.

The DA steadfastly refuses to answer questions about the terminations.

On 4 September, at 14h36, I asked DA provincial media manager Liza Albrecht four questions:

1. Gaan die DA vandag ‘n verklaring uitreik oor die Jemayne Andrews (DA Kaapstad wyk 22) v DA-saak?

2. Verskaf asseblief die name van die 37 DA raadslede wat op 31 Julie vanjaar kandidaatfooie verskuldig was;

3. Verklaar asseblief waarom dié 37 se lidmaatskap nie álmal “outomaties” beëindig is om 00h00:01 op 1 Augustus nie;

4. Verklaar asseblief waarom raadslid Theresa Thompson (Kaapstad wyk 50) toegelaat is om haar kandidaatfooi ná 31 Julie te betaal het, sónder dat haar lidmaatskap “outomaties” beëindig is. Thompson het vanoggend aan my erken dat sy laat betaal het.

Vrae 2 en 3 verwys na stellings wat James Selfe in sy hofstukke in Johann Brummer v. DA gemaak het.

And at 15h21, I wrote Albrecht:

Beste Liza

Nou is ek hééltemal verward!

“Discombobulated”, sê die Soute.

James Selfe het vir die hooggeregshof gesê die terminasieproses is outomaties; maar raadslid Thompson het my pas ingelig dat Hendrik Schmidt sê daar was “processes put in place”!

Kan ons nie vir Selfe Schmidt se telefoonnommer gee, en andersom nie? Moet net nie dat hulle die IT-stelsel gebruik nie, dis stêkint!

Hoe dit ook al sy, laat weet my asseblief wat hier aangaan!

Sterkte!

I reminded Albrecht on 17 September and wrote DA fedex chair James Selfe at 16h36:

Dear Mr. Selfe

You deposed as follows in your answering affidavit in Johann Brummer v. DA, at paragraph 6:

“Of a total of some 1 600 elected DA councillors, Mr. Brummer was one of a handful (some 37) who failed to pay their candidate fees.”

I would want to know the names of the other 36 who had their membership terminated “as an automatic consequence of the party’s factual determination” as at paragraph 7.

I have requested the information from Ms. Liza Albrecht and ask that you provide her the data expeditiously so that she may respond to my enquiry of September 14.

Yours truly

Albrecht responded at 17h47:

Beste Drewan

Ek het pas ‘n gesprek gehad met Thora Viljoen van die DA se Federale Regskommissie. Dit blyk duidelik uit ons gesprek die saak van outomatiese beëindiging van lidmaatskap weens wanbetaling is nie ‘n eenvoudige een nie en ten einde akkurate antwoorde op jou vrae te verskaf sal ek ‘n deeglike gesprek met haar moet voer.

Ek is tans in Johannesburg, maar het onderneem om met haar te ontmoet Donderdag wanneer ek in die Kaap is.

Ek onderneem hiermee om volledig op jou vrae te beantwoord sodra ek die volle inligting van haar ontvang het.

Uit die vinnige verduideliking wat sy my telefonies meegedeel het, egter, is ek oortuig mnr. Brummer is oor dieselfde kam geskeer as alle ander raadslede wat in sy posisie was.

Soos ek sê, die saak is effe meer tegnies as wat dit op die oog af blyk en ek voel nie gemaklik om verdere inligting te verskaf voordat ek dit van aangesig tot aangesig met haar bespreek het nie.

Beste

On 20 September I reminded Albrecht again about the outstanding response.

On 22 September I wrote both Albrecht and the Bitou constituency head, Donald Grant:

Donald; Liza

You issued the attached statement on the very day Johann Brummer was denied interim relief by the High Court, but you have failed convincingly to respond to apposite questions speaking to the DA’s “automatic membership termination process” and inconsistent application (by the IT system?) of the process.

Here, again, are my questions of September 14:

1. Gaan die DA vandag ‘n verklaring uitreik oor die Jemayne Andrews (DA Kaapstad wyk 22) v DA-saak?

2. Verskaf asseblief die name van die 37 DA raadslede wat op 31 Julie vanjaar kandidaatfooie verskuldig was;

3. Verklaar asseblief waarom dié 37 se lidmaatskap nie álmal “outomaties” beëindig is om 00h00:01 op 1 Augustus nie;

4. Verklaar asseblief waarom raadslid Theresa Thompson (Kaapstad wyk 50) toegelaat is om haar kandidaatfooi ná 31 Julie te betaal het, sónder dat haar lidmaatskap “outomaties” beëindig is. Thompson het vanoggend aan my erken dat sy laat betaal het.

I also need clarification on the DA’s definition of “automatic” as James Selfe deposes as follows in his answering affidavit –

At paragraph 7: “No disciplinary ‘decision’ was taken by the DA or its structures. The cessation of his membership came about as an automatic consequence of the party’s factual determination that he was in default of his constitutional payment obligations. Once this determination was made, the automatic consequence followed that he lost his membership of the DA.”

At paragraph 26: “The DA took no decision. As alluded to above, Mr. Brummer lost his membership of the party as an automatic consequence of his failure to fulfill his obligations (under the DA’s constitution) to pay certain amounts.”

At paragraph 27: “The fact that Mr. Brummer’s membership came to an automatic end, arises from the DA’s constitution, which proves (at clause 3.5.1.9) that:
‘A member ceases to be a member of the Party when he or she … is in default with the payment of any compulsory public representative contribution for a period of 2(two) months after having been notified in writing that he or she is in arrears and fails to make satisfactory arrangements for payment of the arrears. For this purpose ‘in writing’ means a letter of demand setting out the amount owing and the date by which it must be paid.’”

At paragraph 28: “The only issue which arises is a purely factual question whether he had paid the amounts he was obliged to pay or not.”

Yet, at paragraph 29, Selfe makes this astonishing statement: “The upshot is that Mr. Brummer’s membership automatically came to an end two months after the notice was hand delivered to him on 7 May 2012 (i.e. 7 July 2012). The DA has always given him (and other similarly placed recalcitrant councilors) the benefit of further time, taking the effective date as being 31 July 2012.”

That “no decision” was taken in this matter is false.

There was a clear decision, at least on May 7, not to terminate Brummer’s membership. And no such decision on July 31. This fact, and Ms Thompson’s post July 31 arrangement indicate that the “process” is certainly not “automated” in the generally accepted sense of the word.

I need to help my readers, who happen to be voters, to understand DA speak.

Your earliest response will be appreciated… My enquiry is now 8 days old and, in the real time communication era, on media life support.

Yesterday, at 09h58, I called Albrecht who suggested that the public holiday may have delayed a response from the fedex. She promised to respond in some way by close of business. She did not.

I told Albrecht that one of three responses would be acceptable:

An explanation – actual answers to my questions; a refusal to answer my questions; an undertaking that answers are in the making.

Yet, nothing.

Not surprising.

“No way to treat people”!?

Remember how the DA treated Johann Koegelenberg?

Think about how the DA is treating the people of Oudtshoorn!

Consider, my longsuffering readers, that the DA is bitterly complaining about OO’s prejudice against the virginal party of well-nigh saints.

How the DA leadership can have this view is beyond me – “no one in the DA reads OO” (and the sun, by the way, goes around the earth).

Yet the DA has not advanced a single argument against any one of my allegations against it!

The DA. To be avoided. Not to be trusted. “Open opportunity society.” Purleaze.

* The celebrated Afrikaans editor and political commentator, Schalk Pienaar (1916-1978) infamously called Apartheid a “ligte mistykie” – a slight error.

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5 thoughts on “No answers from the DA

  1. “Every citizen needs to decide whether to stand with the populists, who would drive the country into the ‘abyss’; or with the constitutionalists, who would fight for four core principles. These were defending the Constitution, nurturing genuine non-racialism, growing a market-driven economy, and building a state that put competence above party loyalty.” Helen Zille. (OO 28 September 2012)

    Indeed, Madam, indeed!!!

    And, one must assume that the suggestion is that you and your generals in the DA lead the citizens to achieve these fine goals. General Bredell, Gen Selfe, etc?

    Anybody who keeps their eyes and ears open and has followed your performance in Oudtshoorn and Plett these past few months knows that such a proposal is still born.

    Must we assume that the great “constitutionalist” general, Bredell, will do for the Constitution, what Sir Redvers Buller did for the Empire against the Boers? Bredell like Redvers has lost every battle that he could not avoid. Reverse upon reverse!

    The battle of Oudtshoorn is a fine example of the Bredell approach. Bredell, with all the power and resources at his disposal is getting his DA arse kicked by the NPP and Gordon April. April, the “uneducated”, is running rings around him. Not because he is losing a genuine fight to a better opponent, but because he is simply incompetent and out of his depth. Bredell cannot defend the Municipal laws against April, but you, Madam, keep him on in the job. Bredell reminds so much of Buller. Remember how Buller lost his first battles against the Boers; he had forbidden his troops to dig trenches or foxholes for fear of damaging the pleasant countryside aesthetics, and similarly warned them against muddying their uniforms by crawling along the ground. No wonder he became known as “Reverse” Buller. Reverse Bredell’s approach to the battle of Oudtshoorn! do you suggest that a man who cannot even apply municipal laws can defend the Constitution?

    As we have learned from the “automatic termination” saga, your own party’s constitution is in direct conflict with the most basic principles of the country’s Constitution. You allow gen Selfe to abuse this disgusting anomaly to victimise party members who dare to speak their minds. Is Selfe the “constitutionalist” general who will defend the constitution? I think not. Selfe, and the basic principles of constitutionality simply do not go together. You, Madam, have done nothing to reign him in, and it is clear that you support his disrespectful attitude towards the Constitution. At its core the DA is un-Constitutional in its approach. WHY WOULD WE BELIEVE THAT WILL CHANGE?

    Non-racism? I’m not going to go there. You can have the benefit of the doubt.

    You want us to believe that your generals will fight for a growing economy and market-driven economy. Again, one just has to look at Reverse Bredell and the DA’s performance in ODN and Plett to judge how serious you are about that. Bredell has allowed the most appalling delays in development applications to suck the momentum out of Plett’s economy. There has been blatant favoritism in development proposals where the DA party donors and supporters are favoured while others face frivolous, expensive and protracted legal battles at the hand of Bredell. You know all about that and you have allowed him to destroy the Plett economy. WHY WOULD WE BELIEVE THAT WILL CHANGE?

    “Competence above party loyalty..”? Please do not insult our intelligence, Madam. Your track record in this regard contradicts you loudly and clearly. You know it, simply from reading OO. I again refer you to gen Selfe’s “automatic termination” saga… Andrews, Brummer, Cortje-Alcock…. You tell us with a straight face that this is in the interest of “competence over party loyalty?”

    Take a look at the one that has played itself out to finality and is close to home for us here in Plett. You remove Brummer, a councillor with 12 year’s experience and a clean and distinguished track record and replace him with a person who has no experience whatsoever, but who will toe the party line and not object to DA unlwafulness, who in fact will not even recognise unlwfulness if it hit her in the face. Oh, we know your generals, Selfe, Bredell, Grant and Marais say he owes the DA R 5000. Really? Is that the reason?

    Do you really expect us to believe that the DA kicked these experienced, dedicated and competent councillors out for a couple of thousand rand. That is what your generals have said – under oath, nogal. No, Madam, that is a lie and you know it and allowed and support their lies. It is blatant purging of those who put service to the communities they represent above blind party loyalty. Your and the DA’s actions unequivocally prove that it is a party which places party loyalty way above competence and service. WHY WOULD WE BELIEVE THAT WILL CHANGE?

    You are aware, Madam, of the questions put to the DA by OO regarding ODN and Plett. You are equally aware that the DA has ducked and dived and lied to avoid answering these questions. This raises another question; If you and the DA have nothing to hide, why do you not put your money where your mouth is and answer the questions openly and honestly? Until such time, please do not expect us to take anything you say seriously. You know what the questions are.

  2. Me Albrecht ontvang nou-nou ‘n brief, willempie. Ek sal dit later vandag publiseer.

  3. Dit verbaas my glad nie. Die DA het geen antwoorde wat die “BRAND” pas nie. Selfs hulle weet dat onder die omstandighede ‘n antwoord beter die waarheid te wees anders is daar nog groter probleme. Die waarheid is ongelukkig net mooi die teenoorgestelde van die beeld wat hulle so hard probeer uitdra. Hoe nou gemaak? Bly tjoepstil en hoop die probleem gaan weg? Die verkose Bredell oplossing vir alles, steek jou kop in die sand en hoop die probleem los homself op?

    Ek wil voorspel dat hierdie klein Simpsontjie groot skandes in die DA gaan oopvlek. Dit kom, op een of ander stadium sal hy kwaad word vir die DA oor wat gebeur het, en dan sal dit nie net op ‘n obskure blog staan nie, maar in die nasionale pers. Dan sal daar moet antwoorde en verduidelikings kom, en nie net oor die politieke side show hoe en wie die DA onregverdiglik ontslaan het nie, maar ek voorspel dit gaan ‘n ding of twee wees wat die DA tot in sy fondamente sal ruk. Die geliefde “BRAND” in sy glory en moontlik hier net voor die 2014 verkiesing as hy net sy timing kan reg kry vir maksimum inpak.

    Dit is nou nie te se dat OO kan relax nie. Wat is die volgende stap, Drewan? Jou lesers wag op die antwoorde. Me Albrecht is ‘n gesoute joernalis, en sy moet tog sekerlik besef dat die Bredell oplossing nie onder hierdie omstandighede kan of sal werk nie. Sy sal sekerlik haar base dienooreenkomstig inlig en gestand doen aan haar beloftes om antwoorde op ons vrae te verskaf. Goeie raad moet sy hulle nou gee.As dit nie nou uitkom nie, sal dit wel later. Ons wag Lisa. Die DA, Selfe, Bredell, Grant, Botha, Zille, noem maar op, hulle geloofwaardigheid is reeds lankal aan flenters, moenie dat dit ook met jou professionele geloofwaardigheid gebeur nie.

  4. May you also dig deeper as to why dd the DA cancel Bitou Ordinary Council meeting three times since september 05??? Is becoz of this Brummer saga?

  5. Both Selfe and Albrects’ credibility now seriously at stake. The public are expecting answers in an “open society”, not selective hog wash like in NP days!

    “that Brummer would go out like Samson – taking the temple down with him.” is going to be a watershed moment for the DA in future. You just cant fool most of the people most of the time any more Political Parties! Are you LISTENING you hypocrites !!

    Time will tell !

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