Bantu Holomisa's night of long knives

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has suspended eight of his top elected officials with immediate effect following fears that they were intending to cross the floor next month.

Holomisa would not supply details, claiming it is an internal matter, but denied they were asked to leave, as was previously stated. He, however, confirmed eight of his top members have been suspended “with immediate effect”.

“The suspension therefore means they may not participate in caucus or any of the UDM meetings but will continue to attend Parliament,” he said.

He said the members have seven days in which to respond to the allegations, which Holomisa again refused to disclose.

But UDM deputy leader Malizole Diko—who was also suspended—said he and the others have not only been suspended but have also been asked to leave because it was rumoured they were intending to cross the floor to other parties.

Diko said they are deeply upset by the accusation and request.

“Firstly, we are very disappointed after all we have done for this organisation,” Diko said shortly after Holomisa summoned the eight to a meeting in Pretoria where he asked them to resign.

“The commander of this army was there himself this morning and issued the order,” he said.

He said the request is unjustified and will be fought all the way to the courts, if necessary.

“There is no way we would cross the floor to another party.
This party [the UDM] is our baby. We have been with it since the start,” he said, accusing Holomisa of acting on “rumours”.

A fellow “accused”, president of the National Women’s League Daphne Qikana, said she has not yet heard anything.

“No, I was not at the meeting but I can’t see why I would be asked to resign,” she said.

She said she is aware of the floor-crossing rumours that surfaced about two months ago but cannot see how she is implicated.

Limpopo’s provincial secretary, Ike Kekana; Eastern Cape provincial secretary Mabandla Gogo; Western Cape provincial chairperson Zolile Siswana; KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial chairperson, Bongani Msomi; secretary general of the National Women’s League Kofie Ncedani; and National Assembly MP Nomakaya Mdaka were all asked to resign.

The floor-crossing period during which MPs and MPLs can change parties without losing their seats comes into affect on September 1 for 15 days.—Sapa

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