Former DA Councillor in Ward 1, Stanford Slabbert issued the following statement today, 26 November 2013:
It is with great sadness that I learnt yesterday that the Federal Council of the Democratic Alliance had dismissed my appeal.
The Federal Council’s decision was forwarded to my attorneys after close of business on Friday afternoon, and I was first made aware of my fate when I saw it on MyPE at 8:29am (DA expels Stanford Slabbert) and subsequently heard it on the 8:30am Monday morning Algoa FM news bulletin.
Throughout this flawed and one-sided process, the DA has always engaged the media before informing me of its decisions.
It is now clear to me that the Democratic Alliance has no place for me in its ranks, despite the fact that:
- I forwarded the email in question at the request of a constituent;
- I distanced myself from the email prior to the Herald article exposing the story;
- I apologized to everyone I had sent the email to, this being 14 fellow DA councillors;
- The DA’s own witness testified that it was clear that I was not the author of the email.
What disturbs me is that the DA is fully aware of the fact that my fellow councillor, Knight Mali, had taken it upon himself to send the email to members outside the Caucus.
Cllr Mali was never questioned as to who these people were, nor was any attempt made to find out whether they had sent the email to the media.
It is therefore clear that someone had taken the email in question and sent it to the media with the express purpose of harming the DA’s image.
It appears, however, that the DA is happy to have whoever this person is, remain in its ranks.
It is further of great concern to me that the DA turns a blind eye to others within the party who have made crude comments on Facebook about our opposition party leaders, made disparaging and frankly racist comments to opposition party members in the provincial legislature and have made derogatory comments to individuals, and in doing so, have been insulting to entire sections of the population. Several even had the same email posted on their FaceBook pages, with no action taken against them.
As was seen with the fiasco concerning the proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act, the DA is more than happy to move its Members of Parliament to different portfolio committees, after they had admitted to not reading the proposed amendments properly.
This is no different to what I have done, however, the impact on me is so much more severe.
It is clear that there is nothing that I could have done in order to escape the finding against me, as I had been tried in the media long before my hearing even took place.
Ironically, I was advised by senior members in the party not to engage the media.
This left all media interaction regarding this matter up to Athol Trollip, who up to this day has never spoken to me about this incident.
This indicates that from the outset of the disciplinary process, Trollip investigated with his mind already made up and that the entire process which followed was a charade.
Even though I apologized, and continue to do so, the party is unhappy as it believes that my apology is qualified.
The DA has gone so far as to say that had I placed the email in context, no action would have been taken against me.
It would therefore appear that because I had not placed it in context (even though it is clear that I was not the author thereof) I am being punished because of it.
This is in sharp contrast to the image now portrayed of me in the media as a racist. This is something I have never been and will never be.
Throughout the flawed disciplinary process, I was never charged with racism, and no such evidence was led, however this word is used whenever Trollip comments on the case. This is most unfortunate and indicative that other forces are at play and many have stated that it has been nothing more than a witch-hunt.
Even though the party’s wishes to portray me in the most damning light, it says nothing of the fact that each and every DA councillor present at a recent Caucus meeting, with one absentee*, gave their full support to me in my appeal.
Given all of the above, it is clear that the DA’s top structure wished to have me removed as councillor, and I cannot see my way open in trying to fight for a hollow victory via a High Court review.
I am currently contemplating the way forward and will make a decision in that regard in due course.
(* Councillor Mali was not present as he has been booked off on stress leave for the past 6 weeks – evidently getting divorced and girlfriend gave birth)
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