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The Mail & Gaurdian reported that Musi Maimane of the DA was taking leadership classes from former President FW De Klerk. This is another dent in the image of the DA. Whether true or not, the DA continues to be depicted as the last refuge of apartheid hardliners of the past.

Diane Kohler Barnard and Penny Sparrow have reinforced the view that many in the DA still hanker after a past that is no more and which still carries very painful memories for so many people.

This latest dent to the DA’s image is as a result of internal dissension. There are those in the DA who do not accept the leadership of Maimane and are seeking to topple him. For many in the DA it is anathema to have a black leader.

The M&G claims that its sources come from within the top structures of the party. One is a member of the federal executive, two are members of a provincial legislature and one other person is a staff member at its head office. The paper is adamantly sticking to its story and is challenging the litigious DA to report it to the Press Ombudsman or to go to court.

COPE has seen statements from Maimane as well as FW de Klerk dismissing the report. It remains to be seen who is telling the truth.

South Africans must recognise that in the absence of race harmony, serious ruptures will occur in society. Many politicians will want to keep the race issue alive and profit thereby. Communities will have to become outspoken critics of racism and will need to demonstrate constructively a belief in racial equality and racial harmony. The longer ordinary people remain silent on this matter, the greater will be the damage done.

Issued by Dennis Bloem, COPE spokesperson

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