A former chairperson of the Stellenbosch wing of the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) Kerwin Jacobs has blasted the DA, who he accuses of putting the breaks on a discussion on black consciousness that the Democratic Alliance Youth-Western Cape tried to arrange last year.
According to DA MP Phumzile Van Damme, however, Jacobs is an “axe-grinding” former chairperson who was academically excluded from university in January and is now “trying to get attention” by exploiting the “narrative” that the DA is racist.
Van Damme told The Citizen that she believes Jacobs is riding a wave of sentiment following the recent resignation of four DA members last week, who say their resignation is as a result of the treatment of both Patricia De Lille and themselves and have accused the party of racism.
Jacobs took to Facebook on Sunday to accuse the party of having “embargoed” the proposed black consciousness discussion. He added that he “stands by” Shaun August and the other former DA members who resigned.
In his post, Jacobs shares his frustrations with DA leadership and their alleged refusal to sanction the event.
In a portion of the email shown in Jacobs’ screenshot, the party lists a number of reasons why they would be against such an event.
“As the party we are operating in a very racially polarized environment where the opposition has nothing left to offer but playing the race card,” stated the party.
The unidentified DA representative in the correspondence goes on to state that advocating for the consciousness of one race is contradictory to the values and ideology of the party. This despite the DA showing support for the late Steve Biko and his ideologies over the years.
Biko was a known advocate for the concept and advancement of black consciousness and wrote about this at length.
In fact, one of Biko’s most popular quotes states that “black consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time”.
Van Damme has since called The Citizen and hit back at Jacobs’ accusations.
“During his term he was a trouble maker and we considered disciplinary action against him,” she said.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article identified Jacobs as chairperson of the Stellenbosch wing of DASO. He is in fact a former chairperson.