Tshwane councillor and DA regional leader Abel Tau is the latest leader to dump the blue party in favour of former City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s new outfit.
The People’s Dialogue announced in a statement on Thursday that Tau had sent a resignation letter to the country’s main opposition party.
Tau confirmed the resignation to News24, saying he could no longer remain complicit and silent in the DA.
“The DA is complicit in the current state of the City of Tshwane and now wants to play holier than thou,” said Tau.
He said the party had failed to achieve the goals it set out when it came into power through a coalition with smaller parties and an informal relationship with the EFF.
Tau said a tour of the country’s capital city would show that problems which existed, remained: including sewage issues in Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve; electricity problems in the Centurion and Monavoni areas; and battles with municipal workers ongoing, with the South African Municipal Workers’ Union currently on strike.
“The DA today, is not the same as the one I fought with in 2016 to wrestle the city form the claws of the ANC,” said Tau.
He further accused the party of becoming like the ANC – embroiled in controversies like the GladAfrica multimillion-rand contract scandal and the Wonderboom Airport saga, among other allegations.
“When we got into power, we said people would be in orange jumpsuits. That has not happened,” said Tau.
The outgoing regional chairperson said he sat through numerous meetings with national DA leaders to discuss how to arrest the decline which saw the city council being dissolved – a matter still being challenged in the courts, after the Gauteng government and EFF appealed a High Court judgment to reverse the decision by the provincial executive to collapse the municipality.
“(Stephens) Mokgalapa was not wrong in saying he inherited a mess, but the time he asked for to pass budgets and annual reports, which the ANC was willing to allow, was not granted to him by the DA,” said Tau.
“The DA leaders just did not care about the people of Tshwane,” he continued.
He told News24 that when Mashaba formally launches his party he would be by the former mayor’s side.
The DA has continued to bleed talent since electing its former long-time leader Helen Zille as federal council chairperson in October 2019.
This resulted in Mmusi Maimane stepping down as leader and Athol Trollip resigning from his role as federal chairperson.
Tau joins other members who left the organisation and have since joined Mashaba, including its former CEO Paul Boughey, head of campaigns Jonathan Moakes and former City of Johannesburg mayoral committee member for finance Funzi Ngobeni.
He also said numerous councillors and branch members were considering following in his path.
“I know there are a lot of naysayers, but we are going to work hard towards the next local government elections and then show what can be done when people are given support,” said Tau of his new venture.
In the People’s Dialogue statement, Mashaba said Tau met the requirements needed to join the party as it was not a home for politicians who had failed citizens, and who could “pass through the proverbial eye of the needle”.
“What is clear is that Abel does not seek positions within the party and wants to sign up as an ordinary member, along with the thousands who have joined to date,” said Mashaba.
He said Tau brought with him important skills which included the ability to coordinate ground structures in Tshwane.
“This is one of the strengths of our party – our commitment that residents will choose our candidates through primaries; means that any person wishing to stand will have to pass this test if they want to serve as a public representative,” said Mashaba.
Attempts to reach Zille were unsuccessful. Mashaba was expected to formally launch the People’s Dialogue next month.