DA 'surprised' as five MPs jump ship

The Democratic Alliance suffered its first losses in the National Assembly on Thursday when five of its MPs used the floor-crossing window to defect to other parties—only hours before the window closes at midnight.

Four DA MPs—Bheki Mnyandu, Enyinna Nkem-Abonta, Richard Ntuli, and Dan Maluleke—joined the African National Congress.

Another MP, Craig Morkel, also jumped ship from the DA to form his own party, the Progressive Independent Movement.

The defections were announced by Deputy Speaker Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde just before Parliament adjourned on Thursday.

Reacting to the news, DA leader Tony Leon said the “five gentlemen have taken a decision to help build a one-party state”.

The bulk of the DA and its electorate remained resolute in defence of South Africa’s hard-won democracy—a democracy which required choice and options, and strength of conviction and certainty of purpose.

“Fundamentally it requires men and women to stand on the firm ground of principle, not on the shifting sands of expedience.

“We are confident that we will continue to grow where it matters—among the voters—and we look forward to the forthcoming local government elections where this will be disposed of by the only people who count, the voters,” Leon said.

Robert Macdonald, a spokesperson for the DA told the Mail & Guardian Online that the defections “is a surprise”.

“We didn’t know this was going to happen,” he said.

“We have known that they [ANC] were trying to get some of our members [but] we didn’t expect this.” - Sapa

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