Defend Truth


The DA’s cadre deployment in the Western Cape is no different to the ANC’s nationally


Brett Herron is GOOD Secretary-General and a member of the Western Cape provincial legislature.

Cadre deployment is a central theme underpinning the Zondo Commission’s work. This is not a grey area. The DA has no more right to install its chosen candidates in George than the ANC, or its business proxies, have to choose board members of state-owned companies.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde last week stoutly defended the right of one of his MECs to meddle in staff appointments at George municipality — after being forced by the Public Protector to reprimand the MEC.

Winde’s boss, DA leader John Steenhuisen, was meanwhile telling the Zondo Commission that “the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment is the root cause of State Capture”. 

Steenhuisen is not wrong. But, besides stating the obvious, he’s a hypocrite because the truth is that both the ANC and DA illegally practise the policy where they govern. It is illegal because it supersedes legal processes that exist for the employment of officials at all levels of the state.

Cadre deployment is a central theme underpinning the State Capture commission’s work. The commission has more than enough weighty matters on its desk to mitigate against being distracted by opportunistic politicking about cadre deployment by a party that has just been censured by the Public Protector for committing the same offence. 

This is not a grey area. The DA has no more right to install its chosen candidates in George than the ANC, or its business proxies, have to choose board members of state-owned companies.

Much evidence has come to light over the past several years to indicate that the DA has effectively captured George municipality.

By “captured” I refer not to the fact that the party holds the majority of seats in George. I refer to the micro-management by DA office bearers of who gets jobs and who must be forced to leave; who gets investigated and charged and who doesn’t; and what information should be weaponised and what covered up.

The Public Protector’s finding last week that MEC Anton Bredell wrongfully sought to ensure that the DA’s preferred candidate was appointed instead of the candidate selected through the municipal selection process, is one of a number of similar complaints that have been submitted for investigation.

There is a clear pattern. 

Two years ago, the then brand new GOOD party submitted a dossier of evidence to the Public Protector’s Western Cape office indicating that a senior George councillor, responsible for the town’s finances, had suffered no consequences for transferring millions of rands to a new bank account — earning the councillor’s son handsome commissions.

GOOD has subsequently submitted to the Public Protector information on meddling in various appointments in George, and the alleged manipulation of investigations. The Public Protector has yet to investigate these matters.

In December, GOOD received information about yet another alleged manipulated appointment. Because of the Public Protector’s backlog, we are considering other possible channels that may assist to bring the practice to a halt.

In a lengthy letter tabled with the Western Cape provincial legislature, the premier seeks to justify MEC Bredell’s unlawful interference in the administration of the George municipality on the basis that it is the same as the ANC’s cadre deployment policy.

If that’s the case, besides attention-seeking, what was Steenhuisen doing writing pious letters to Judge Zondo?

Winde suggests that the conduct is not subject to the Public Protector’s oversight because Bredell was acting in his capacity as a DA leader. That is the very essence of a conflict of interests.

By this argument, Winde would have no problem with Luthuli House getting sign-off power on the appointment of all national department officials. He is very wrong.

Instead of trying to justify the unjustifiable, while firing potshots at the Public Protector and issuing a half-hearted reprimand under sufferance, at the same time, the premier should re-read the statement he made after being appointed, promising a government of integrity.

A few examples of DA cadre deployment:

  • Former DA human resources director Penny Tainton was deployed to the premier’s office to work on e-learning and after-school programmes. After Allan Winde’s appointment as premier, she was elevated, on a R1-million-plus salary, to the economic war room. She has no qualifications or background in economic development;
  • Former DA MP Vusumzi Magwebu failed to make it back to Parliament after the 2019 elections, so he was fixed up with an alternative five-year deployment as Cape Town’s ombudsman to watchdog his comrades in government; and
  • The DA’s former municipal manager in Oudtshoorn, Allen Paulse, resigned in late 2020 after disciplinary action was instituted against him for serious misconduct, including financial misconduct. An investigation by Webber Wentzel attorneys also recommended that the council lay criminal charges. But the DA redeployed him to a well-paid position in the George municipality. DM

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All Comments 14

  • Oh dear. So you have found an example or two but definitely not a policy that is officially supported by the DA as a whole, and expect us compare this with cadre deployment of the ANC?
    But, while we have you throwing out all sorts of accusations, lets chat about procurement of Chinese busses…

    • Dear of dear. If a senior leader in the party defends these ‘one or two’ examples’ in principle (actually three examples to be precise), it qualifies as party policy. If it is not party policy I expect to see Alan Winde put down by the great moralist, John Steenhuisen.

  • Yes – deplorable, if true. Still, it was remarkable to see how many of her old ID pals were forcefully inserted by Aunty Patricia into senior positions in the City of Cape Town during her – to put it mildly – troubled time as Mayor.

  • “Western Cape premier Alan Winde last week stoutly defended the right of one of his MECs to meddle in staff appointments at George municipality — after being forced by the Public Protector to reprimand the MEC.”

    I see none of this referenced in other articles about the subject?

  • The DA is at sea, in particular on how to encourage support in the coming LG elections.
    One strategy would be to assure voters that the best person would be appointed to any post.
    Absolutely unacceptable to make a decision based on political affiliation.
    Disappointing and dishonest.

  • Oh come on Heron! To liken the DA to the anc is disingenuous in the extreme. This is nothing but a cheap and frivolous political shot and it deserves nothing but contempt.

  • Whether DA or ANC we need to STOP this nonsense of the winning party parachuting in political appointees (that were entirely unknown to voters) to head up portfolios. I have a lawyer-politician as the political head of Engineering Services in my DA town. In the bad old days that would be an electrical engineer. I am unclear why he gets paid his 7 figure salary and he has a department head (an actual engineer) that also gets paid a 7 figure salary. You have a meeting and it’s like the two are from Mars and Venus!!!

    There should be no politics in basic services. That applies as much to ANC as DA owned councils.