A DEMOCRATIC Alliance (DA) councillor in the Eastern Cape who sent out a “racist” e-mail that insulted President Jacob Zuma has been expelled from the party, after being found guilty of contravening the DA’s federal constitution, DA Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip said on Tuesday.
In June it emerged that Stanford Slabbert, who was a DA Ward 1 councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, had sent an e-mail to fellow councillors saying, among other things, that President Jacob Zuma had more wives than brain cells.
The e-mail also criticised the ANC for producing “dumb idiots who wait for handouts”. It said Mr Zuma led a country where a quarter of schoolgirls were HIV-positive because South Africans had “spread the disease more than anyone else in the world”.
At the time Mr Trollip said the e-mail was “very offensive and racist”, and said it had “contravened the DA’s constitution”.
Mr Slabbert was subsequently suspended by the party after being charged with bringing the party into disrepute. A disciplinary hearing was held earlier in August, which was attended by Mr Slabbert and the legal representative defending him, with the DA providing a prosecution and a disciplinary hearing panel.
Mr Trollip said on Tuesday that Mr Slabbert’s membership had been terminated. “The actions by Mr Slabbert are contrary to the values of the DA and are condemned in the strongest manner,” he said.
“The hearing panel found the content of the e-mail divisive, insensitive and containing statements that can be classified as racial stereotyping and racist by nature,” Mr Trollip said.
“The forwarding of the e-mail by Mr Slabbert brought the name of the party into disrepute and did not reflect it as being a nonracial party for all voters who subscribe to its principles and values.
“Nonracialism and equality for everyone is a founding and fundamental principle of the DA.”
In terms of the federal constitution of the DA, any member, including a public representative, is guilty of misconduct if he or she, among other things, “brings the good name of the party into disrepute or harms the interests of the party”.
When asked whether the incident had hurt the DA’s image, Mr Trollip said the way the issue had been handled showed that “the party is principled”.
“The DA is in good stead. We have shown that we deal with any member (who violates the party’s constitution)”.
The DA has been working hard to dispel the perception that it is a white party, a perception the African National Congress has used as ammunition over the years.
When Mr Slabbert was contacted for comment on Tuesday evening, he said he was not aware that he had been stripped of his membership.
“I will not comment until I have seen it in black and white,” Mr Slabbert said before hanging up.