The Democratic Alliance has communicated with the women who are named in an anonymous email that claimed that senior DA leaders were abusing their power and using women as “playthings”.
“We informed them of the email,” DA federal council chairperson James Selfe said on Monday.
“They know their rights. They must exercise them if they want to.”
Selfe dismissed the email as a “disinformation smear during an internal election” and denied an earlier report saying that an investigation into the email was under way.
“We will not grace the scurrilous anonymous email with an investigation. The claims are malicious and distorted. We are not going to waste resources by investigating,” he said.
“It is regrettable. The DA has never sunk this low throughout the entire institutional memory of the party.”
Selfe said he was satisfied that no formal complaint relating to the claims mentioned in the email had been lodged via the party’s standard disciplinary processes.
Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane – who is running for national party leader at the upcoming federal congress – and four of his allies are named in the email that was circulated at the weekend.
They are federal chair hopeful Athol Trollip, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, member of Parliament Gavin Davis and DA chief executive Paul Boughey.
Seven women are named as having affairs with the “Mmusi-Athol-John-Gavin-Paul team”.
“There are men in the DA who have made it a special pastime to choose women in the party to be their playthings. I am one such person and despite raising my concerns I was brushed aside by a system that protects men that use their power to get away with the worst misogyny against women,” said the email.
Against this culture, the email said “it may not come as a surprise to realise that few women are running for leadership”.
Out of the 21 candidates running for eight leadership positions, Gauteng member of the provincial legislature Refiloe Ntsekhe and member of Parliament Desiree van der Walt are the only two women in the running, and they are standing for one of the three deputy federal chairperson positions.
The DA released a joint statement yesterday dismissing the allegations contained in the email.
Speaking on behalf of Maimane, Trollip and also Wilmot James – who is Maimane’s rival in the race for party leader, member of Parliament Geordin Hill-Lewis told City Press: “We are completely united in the utter condemnation of the email and the author, and reject it with the contempt it deserves. The campaign is focused on the future of the DA and on trying to build the DA. This email is not condoned by any of the candidates.”
Hill-Lewis said the comments were “libellous claims about people’s private lives” and not backed up with any information.
The federal congress elections take place in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
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