The firing of Mpumalanga DA communications manager has brought to the fore allegations that the provincial party leader, Jane Sithole, allegedly worked with the manager to sabotage a rival within the party using the racism ticket.
Dumisile Masuku’s dismissal has also revealed the internal strife within the DA in Mpumalanga which might have contributed to the loss of votes in the last general elections, forcing it to surrender the main opposition party seats to the EFF in Mpumalanga.
Masuku, a former journalist, was sent packing when a disciplinary committee found her guilty of:
- Involvement in internal politics by participating in a smear campaign against former Mpumalanga DA leader Anthony Benadie, who is now an MP;
- Breach of confidentiality by sharing information to tarnish Benadie’s reputation; and
- Dishonesty relating to submitting falsified campaign reports during this year’s election campaign. Sithole headed the campaign as she was also the premier candidate.
Sithole would also borrow money for petrol from Masuku
Masuku’s woes began when her personal friendship with Sithole broke down after she was linked to a failed conspiracy allegedly engineered by the party’s former legislature researcher, Mzukisi Dyantyi, to pass a vote of no confidence against her (Sithole’s) leadership.
Dyantyi allegedly plotted this motion with Bushbuckridge councillors who recorded him and forwarded the information to Sithole – eventually leading to his dismissal on July 12.
Sithole and Masuku were so close that the provincial leader gave up her state house at Rivergate Estate, in West Acres in Mbombela, to her to rent for a measly R3 000 a month when her financial situation allegedly reached rock bottom apparently because of the failure of her husband’s businesses.
Documents City Press has seen indicate that Sithole would also borrow money for petrol from Masuku.
Masuku regards her dismissal on August 8 as unfair and has referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
She claimed that Sithole was being let off the hook even though she was the one who drove the campaign against Benadie in 2016 and also “coerced” her [Masuku] to do other wrong deeds.
Benadie wanted to represent the party in the Steve Tshwete and Nkangala district councils as a councillor and also to stand as a DA mayoral candidate during the local government elections after his decade-long stint in the provincial legislature.
But those plans were derailed when a racism scandal broke out.
In the DA,” said Masuku, “it is impossible to complain against a provincial leader and you end up being charged for doing so
A former DA employee, Elna Sikwane, alleged that Benadie turned a blind eye when patrons at this Dros restaurant in Middelburg used the expletive K-word when referring to her as she was taking selfies on her cellphone.
Masuku argued that Sithole had asked her to disseminate the information about the incident to the media.
“In the DA,” said Masuku, “it is impossible to complain against a provincial leader and you end up being charged for doing so.”
Masuku was charged after she wrote a four-page letter to DA provincial chairperson Bosman Grobler on June 24 spilling the beans about Sithole’s conduct.
In the letter Masuku revealed that Sithole was renting out the state house to her and that Sithole decided to evict her from the house after she became aware of the plot to oust her.
She claimed Sithole had “coerced” her to provide falsified reports for Sithole’s premiership campaign – “pretending she was on the ground while she lay in her bed …” – and to damage Benadie’s reputation. Masuku denied she was part of the motion of no confidence.
“I understand that by sending this email, I could be implicating myself in a lot of things, but I have concrete evidence that everything that I have done, unlawful or not, was done on the instruction of Jane Sithole … I am tired of being used, abused and bullied by Jane Sithole. I’m not a skroplap [Afrikaans slang for dirtiest dish cloth],” Masuku wrote.
Sithole responded by saying that Masuku was a bitter former employee who used her phone and laptop to send herself [Masuku]messages. She promised to pray for Masuku.
“I am not going to get involved in exchanging anything with yourself and/or Dumisile Masuku. A bitter ex-employee of the DA will do or say anything, including emails and WhatsApps that she sent to herself from my laptop and my phone in her desperate agenda to taint my name.
“I hope she’s seeing someone to heal herself. Sour grapes can destroy a person from inside. As a person who had access to all my electronic devices from 2014, my passwords and everything, I don’t know what else she sent to herself using my name or my email address.”