South Africa


Why I took to Twitter to respond to Mmusi Maimane

Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, left, and DA interim leader John Steenhuisen right. (Photos: EPA-EFE / Nic Bothma | 2019 Tiso Blackstar Group / Veli Nhlapo)

The DA MP sheds some light on his heated Twitter exchange with former DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the weekend.

An article in Daily Maverick by Stephen Grootes (Bloodletting and character assassination: DA troubles keep multiplying) on 4 February refers to a post on Twitter by Mmusi Maimane where he calls DA interim leader John Steenhuisen “Judas” and says that this “led, for some reason, to Cachalia tweeting what very much looks like a pointed claim against Maimane”. Grootes goes on to say, “What is fascinating about this tweet is not so much a detailed accusation, but that it was unprompted, at least apparently.”

Perhaps the following will provide some background to what prompted my reply.

On 22 January 2020, I wrote an article published by BusinessDayLive titled “Stealth politics of Maimane and Mashaba will not work”. This clearly touched a nerve with Maimane and led him to respond on Twitter attacking those who say to “great leaders… this will not work” as having “small minds and visions”.

He then proceeded in subsequent tweets to say “you know nothing about movements and politics Ghaleb, you have had VIP seats to the game your whole life.”

Following hard on this, Maimane then took particular umbrage to an interview which quoted DA leader John Steenhuisen saying that the DA under Maimane focused “too much” on criticising the ANC despite his (Steenhuisen’s) warning, prompting Maimane to tweet the following: “Someone should tell Judas Steenhuisen to keep my name out of his mouth. It won’t end well for him.” For some inexplicable reason he added, “He must ask Cachalia.”

My response to this, not quoted by Grootes, stated, “Ask Cachalia what?… How he told you Movements maketh the man, not the other way round? And speaking of Movements… I’m told the Movement bought its leader a spanking new Range Rover… It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

I followed up with a pertinent question of Maimane relating to various acts of alleged impropriety during his tenure as leader of the DA – all of which have been in the public domain.

Grootes asks why I was hitherto silent about this. The fact is that I was not silent about it. I asked questions at the time – as did others – within party and parliamentary structures, some of which were carried by the media. I repeated an amalgamation of these in response to Maimane’s holier-than-thou attacks and innuendo on Twitter.

I trust that this places the discourse on Twitter in perspective. DM


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