The DA’s embarrassing silence continues
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 2 April 2013. 18h25. of course Mmusi Maimane ignored my letter affording him a 17h00 deadline.
So here’s my final effort to address the DA’s embarrassing silence on Theuns Botha’s kragdadige apartheid style “don’t reply at all” tantrum: A letter to the party chair…
Dear Dr James
We met on two occasions in June 2010 when I testified before your inquiry into the Oudtshoorn caucus.
I write you solely upon the insistence of a mutual acquaintance who wishes to remain anonymous at this time and who recommends your integrity to the extent of guarantee that you are the one DA functionary to address the concerns limned in this letter.
I claim “no holds barred in your face factual reporting of what you may not even realize you should want to know” on my blog – O!O (link in the signature below) – and back the claim by rigorous criticism and the exposure of local government malfeasance without fear or favour, especially in the Southern Cape (Eden District) traditionally ill served by the mainstream media.
Up until a few years ago my relationship with the DA was very good. I worked closely with a team that delivered 50.8% of the local popular vote on May 18, 2011. My negotiations brought the DA to within an inch of a governing coalition shunned at the very last moment by the very DA leader who inspired the very move!
The cordial relationship soured when circumstances forced me to publish the facts on DA malfeasance not only in its governance roles but also in its internal affairs and the way in which it treated its supporters and members.
At that point, the then leader of the DA in the Western Cape, Theuns Botha, with whom I had worked very closely during the election campaign, issued instructions that DA public representatives must no longer respond to my queries and even that they must not read the blog. His instruction was directed at all DA public representatives, from councillors to MEC’s.
His instructions even included the DA’s media department to whom I had directed written requests for information and comment on a number of issues. Despite numerous promises by these professional media people to do what they knew they should do under such circumstances, Botha’s instructions overrode all common sense and logic in this regard and the officials involved were prevented from communicating with me – the media.
The inevitable result of this has been that the many questions arising out of, for example, the current fiasco around the Eden Executive Mayor, the inability of the DA to hold proper meetings or to even muster a quorum in that council, and the seeming willingness of the DA to cover-up serious malfeasance, has not been responded to in any meaningful way by the DA, all because one person has issued an unconscionable instruction and those so instructed from MEC’s down have complied against the DA’s constitution, Code of Conduct for Public Representatives and even their own better judgment.
The DA’s position on freedom of the media, the right to information and communication in general is well publicised and well known. What MEC Botha has done is patently in violent conflict with this, and cannot in good conscience be allowed to continue unchecked.
What I, and many of my readers find especially abhorrent is the plain contempt in which he holds not only the media, but also the DA supporters, voters, donors, and organised business.
When the latest e-mail communication from him to the DA Bitou leadership I felt compelled to publish it together with other communications from him underscoring his utter contempt for not only the voters, but also the DA’s own constitution, code of conduct, and standards.
The hard facts published have drawn many comments all of which with the exception of one very obviously illustrate the shared revulsion with which readers view Botha’s actions and pronouncements.
The one exception was a person who cautioned against tarring the DA with Botha’s brush and suggested that I officially inform the DA of the situation and allow the party a fair opportunity to deal openly and transparently with the numerous violations and breaches of the DA’s constitution and Code of Conduct for Public Representatives.
In the firm belief that nothing would be done, I initially declined. Yet, in the interest of equity I conceded, addressing Mmusi Maimane in a letter copied to you.
Maimane answered my skepticism and ignored my letter, and hence this final call to hold MEC Botha accountable for damaging the DA brand.
As this is certainly the last effort I’ll make in this shameful matter, I hope that at the very least it may result in improved DA media relations.
DREWAN BAIRD COMMUNICATION – Sensaytional – 076 349 6316
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