Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has rejected a call by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) for the Democratic Alliance (DA) to end its alliance with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Mashaba was responding to an IRR tweet on Monday. He termed the tweet “extremely concerning.”
IRR had tweeted, “SA must pressure the DA to expel racist leaders, stamp out corruption, stop race-based policies, break off its alliance with the EFF, and appoint good leaders. SA needs a strong and principled opposition.”
Mashaba lambasted IRR for pursuing policies that aim to “keep a Blackman down.” He questioned why IRR is taking “a stance to decide who good leaders are for the DA.”
In a subsequent tweet, Mashaba asked the Institute to allow DA members to allow decide the party’s future.
He wrote, “Please allow DA members to decide without such overt and unnecessary interference.
“You have done too much damage to our Party already, including your opposition to [Mmusi Maimane’s] leadership once you realised his agenda, an agenda that got some of us to join.”
More DA leaders react
Other DA leaders also took on IRR. MP Phumzile van Damme asked, “So the opinionated blacks must be expelled? Not so much the white people who have been racist?”
National spokesperson Solly Malatsi said IRR should register its own party, adding that the “hankering to inflame factionalism in the DA isn’t the working of independent think tank.”
MP Geordin Hill-Lewis said IRR’s tweet is “utterly bizarre.” He added, “If you want to help, be a think tank, write about policy options. Don’t try be an internal lobby group.”
However, the Institute has defended its “right” to interfere in DA’s internal politics.
In a statement, it said it has launched a #SaveTheOpposition campaign “in reaction to the dire state of opposition politics in South Africa.”
It singled out van Damme, Mashaba, MP Luyolo Mphithi and Chief Whip John Steenhuisen for criticism.
IRR campaigns coordinator Hermann Pretorius said, “Events of the past week and the behaviour of these senior public representatives have made it painfully clear how necessary it is for ordinary South Africans – and think thanks like the IRR – to intervene in the affairs of the DA.”