Following the defection of a top KwaZulu-Natal Democratic Alliance (DA) member to the African National Congress (ANC), Zwakele Mncwango, the leader of the DA in the province, said that one person would not make or break the country’s official opposition.
“Individuals can be wherever they want to be. We fought hard for this democracy. The DA isn’t built on one man or woman, we can’t be distracted from building democracy because of one individual,” he said.
“The DA has been growing from election to election, getting more votes. If people don’t want to be part of that, they can leave.”
Mncwango made the remarks while speaking to African News Agency (ANA) after the party’s former top man in the provincial legislature — Sizwe Mchunu — was officially welcomed as an ANC member, just 55 days before the country’s national election.
Mchunu was the longest serving African Public Representative for the DA countrywide. He served for over a decade in the party’s national executive committee and is widely credited with growing the party in KZN.
Rumours have abounded for months that Mchunu was not happy with the DA and had been sidelined because of Mncwango and his strong band of supporters. Prior to the 2016 local government elections, he was touted as moving to the ANC, but this never materialised.
Mchunu led the party in the province from 2009 to 2015 when he lost in a hard fought contest with Mncwango. A year later, he stepped down as the DA caucus leader in the KZN legislature. He has been outspoken about corruption allegations within the party he has now joined.
Mncwango said while the party had yet to receive an official resignation from Mchunu, the move confirmed the rumours. He said he had found out about Mchunu’s defection on Wednesday.
“The DA has been growing from election to election. If individuals stop sharing the vision of building one South Africa for all — where today we are crying about corruption in the ANC — and if they want to join the corrupt ANC, they can do so,” said Mncwango.
Mchunu told ANA he did not want to “thrash” his DA colleagues, but that the party had “quite a number of problems”.
“It is losing support because the people don’t really believe that the DA has got what it takes to lead South Africa.”
He left the party, he said, because he believed in ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s “vision”.
It was “a decision I have taken after intensive self-introspection”, said Mchunu.
“I believe in Ramaphosa’s approach to socio-economic development and resuscitating Nelson Mandela’s dream of a rainbow nation. I’ve taken a very conscious decision that I want to be part of the project to resuscitate and save South Africa,” said Mchunu.
When asked how he would marry the corruption he was so vocal about with his new membership, he said Ramaphosa was putting in place numerous ways of dealing with the issues.
“I have no doubt that where corruption lifts its ugly head, the ANC under Cyril Ramaphosa is ready to deal with it decisively and clearly.”
He denied that he had been offered a government position following the election.
“I have joined the ANC just to serve the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the people of South Africa.”
Mchunu was welcomed into the governing party alongside Claudelle Chetty-Naidoo, DA councillor for ward 28 in Msunduzi Local Municipality and deputy caucus leader within the same municipality.
DA Ward 30 councillor at Msunduzi, Renesha Jugmohan, and Nalene Naidoo-Atwaru, former ward 33 councillor and current PR councillor in Msunduzi, also joined the ANC.
The NFP’s deputy provincial chairperson, Njabulo Mlaba, also joined the governing party.
They were all welcomed by the provincial ANC leadership at the party’s Durban headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.
– African News Agency (ANA)