Maimane taking legal advice as ex-DA members demand apology

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has sought legal advice after five resigned Cape Town city councillors asked Maimane to apologise “unequivocally”.

The councillors — former DA chief whip Shaun August, Siya Mamkeli, Suzette Little, Greg Bernardo and Thulani Stemele — allege Maimane defamed them last week in statements he made to the press and his newsletter Bokamoso.

On Friday, Maimane was alleged to have said that the resignation of the five was “not surprising” and that the five left because of a report by law firm Bowmans into allegations of corruption levelled against outgoing Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. The report recommends criminal charges be laid against her.

Graham Charters, the DA’s deputy chief of staff, told TV news channel SABC on Sunday that Maimane had retracted his statement that the five were implicated in tender irregularities. Charters added that Maimane had amended the  Bokamoso newsletter to “to better reflect the truth”.

READ MORE: Resigned DA councillors demand Maimane apology

Maimane originally wrote in his newsletter on Friday: “But now that a credible forensic investigation by credible legal firm has allegedly implicated them in tender irregularities, the DA is suddenly a racist party.”

Maimane has corrected the Bokamoso newsletter to read: “For five Cape Town councillors, the DA wasn’t a racist party last month. Bu t now that they’ve been shown to be the most ardent defenders of maladministration, despite evidence which has now been confirmed by a credible forensic investigation, the DA is suddenly a racist party.” (emphasis added)

In a tweet on Sunday, August said that their demands for Maimane’s apology remain: “We reject his limp-wristed response. It is not a retraction.”

Maimane has until 6pm on Monday to issue a media statement and newsletter to apologise for “false and defamatory” statements made to the media and in his newsletter, Bokamoso, a lawyer’s letter issued by Van Rensburg & Kie to Maimane on Sunday stated.

None of the five council members were implicated in the Bowmans report, the lawyers say, adding that “there was no serious findings against our clients in the Bowmans report in fact no findings are made against them at all”.

READ MORE: De Lille & Co implicated in reports

August has maintained that his demands for Maimane’s public apology remain. In another tweet on Sunday, he wrote: “He has our demands which aren’t unreasonable. He must issue a public apology and retraction.”

August said Maimane must issue a new Bokamoso newsletter “where he retracts the allegations and apologises”.

August along with Mamkeli, Little, Bernardo and Stemele resigned on Thursday in an unprecedented show of support for De Lille.

They have since accused the party of sidelining them and reserving decision-making for white DA members.

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