Cape Town —
I, Shaun August, hereby submit my letter of resignation as Chief Whip of the City of Cape Town Council, a Councillor in the City of Cape Town and a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA) effective immediately.
My decision does not come lightly considering the two years of struggle, discrimination and double standards that I have been subjected to by the DA.
From the beginning of my journey in politics, my intentions were to help people and communities progress, particularly after our painful history which stripped the vast majority of people of their livelihoods and dignity. For these reasons I felt compelled towards alleviating poverty, fighting crime and being part of a project to build an inclusive society where we all feel that we are a part of and can participate in.
In 2010, I took a bold step to support the decision of my former political home, the Independent Democrats (ID) and become a member of the DA after the parties merged.
I committed myself to follow the common belief and values of the two parties which now stood under one banner as the DA. I became fully involved with the DA as an activist and member where I became a ward councillor.
During this time, I also contested party leadership positions which gave me the opportunity to lead the DA in the City of Cape Town. I worked tirelessly and have a proven track record, particularly with growing the party further in the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
In 2016, I played a key operational role in helping the DA win its biggest election result. Soon after, I pledged again to help the DA grow as we worked towards the 2019 national government elections.
With new energy and ideas, I committed myself to re-contest the position of Metro Chairperson to continue leading the DA in the City of Cape Town. I was not elected but continued to support the DA and ran for the position of Western Cape Provincial Deputy Chairperson.
I was successful and was eager and ready to bring my skills to the fore.
It was after the 2016 local government elections when various characters within the DA Metro started with their campaign to remove me and those they deemed “ID members” from senior leadership and government positions.
By no means was this a reflection of my work ethic or my commitment to the party but was based on stomach politics fuelled by those who resented others in power and position and for position and power.
Not only was there a war within the Metro but those who were hell bent on ‘cleansing’ the DA of former ID Members were supported by leaders on Provincial and National level. Many of us were labelled and isolated by the Party.
Since being elected as the Chief Whip in the City, my term has been mired with concocted accusations, FLC appearances and mudslinging in the media and within the DA Metro Caucus.
In a deliberate attempt to discredit and assassinate my character, I was subjected to 12 charges against me in one year, many of which were withdrawn due to lack of evidence.
One of the most shocking attempts to remove me from my position as Chief Whip was the Steenhuisen Commission in 2017 which through an illegitimate process took ad hoc statements from DA City of Cape Town Councillors in order to enquire reasons behind the tensions in the CT caucus.
I chose to participate in the Commission, giving my own substantial written and verbal testimony, but instead of considering my testimonial with the evidence submitted against the claims made against me, the information was completely overlooked.
It was clear that the sub-committee had a pre- concluded outcome, considering that throughout my submission I was confronted with a list of false accusations without evidence or an opportunity to cross-examine those who laid the claims.
Expectedly, when the report was released, my information together with many other councillors particularly those seen to belong to the “de Lille faction” was never included.
However, I received a letter advising me that a resolution was taken by the Federal Executive to give reasons why I should not resign as the Chief Whip, and, if not inclined to do so, why the Federal Executive should not allow the caucus of the COCT to move a MONC against me.
This was ironic as there were never explicit findings against me in the report. My only alleged guilt was that I formed part of a ‘cabal’ around the Mayor (de Lille) and therefore I would not provide a fair hearing to the members of the caucus.
I acceded and submitted reasons why I should not resign. Part of my submission was based on how the Commission failed to charge me with any misconduct in terms of the DA Federal Constitution.
I further elaborated on the work I do as Chief Whip of Council, of the Caucus and how I have transformed the function of the Office beyond its traditional role.
My support to the administration, the DA caucus and subsequently the Council, which includes the 12 parties, gave a clear outline that I was committed to the optimal functioning and success of the party in the City of Cape Town.
I would like to believe that my submission gave enough motivation to why I should not resign but ultimately the DA went against its own Constitution which clearly states that FEDEX is unable to make a decision to recommend that a Chief Whip should resign based on certain grounds.
I was never asked to resign nor was I ever told that FEDEX accepted my reasons as to why I should not resign.
To date, I still await factual proof, an apology or a retraction from those who were nameless, faceless and even from those who have publicly assassinated my character.
Soon after the Steenhuisen Report started to show its flaws and in essence became a redundant document, a series of no confidence motions and court battles started between Patricia de Lille and the DA.
The party was using various means to get rid of de Lille through changing DA constitutional clauses and using motions of no confidence.
Throughout that period, I took a principled decision to support de Lille as there was little to no evidence which supported the claims within the various motions submitted.
This process defined the entire year of 2018 within the City of Cape Town. I, alongside many other Councillors stood by our principles and chose to not vote for a motion against de Lille.
Unfortunately, and with the protection of the Western Cape High Court, many of us paid the price of victimisation and intimidation by our own colleagues in Council and within other DA platforms.
After numerous attempts of asking the DA to protect me and many of my colleagues, the DA has shown its dishonesty to its constituents and the people of CT by not taking action against those who continually tried to break the party’s internal cohesion, and in essence broke a court order. As a party leader and at the request of many colleagues I have personally made countless efforts to bring unity into the City of Cape Town caucus but unfortunately, these attempts have fallen on deaf ears.
Whilst many of us continued with service delivery and advocating for redress, we were being threatened by our colleagues who were plotting coups in boardrooms against us.
It is during the same time, whereby the FedEX was directly involved in the management of the caucus which came to interfere and compromise governance. The caucus lost full control as the DA could not separate party and state – the water crisis is the most obvious example of this.
I have never considered myself an ally of the senior Provincial or Metro leadership but was committed to continue the agenda of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity working in any capacity to make a difference in the lives of the people of Cape Town.
Politically, I have also never been intent to surround myself with people that I believe can be a stepping stone to my career position, power and salary.
Over some time, I realised that the DA and its senior leaders epitomised control, protecting a white minority at the expense of their own senior black leaders, black constituents and our residents, who are formerly disadvantaged by apartheid.
It is evident that many senior leaders in the DA nationally and over various provincial executives are racist. The same can be said for many of the Party senior staffers.
Where black faces are shown, their control lies by the white necks that turn them. And if you don’t say or do what they want, you are automatically worked out to be replaced by another black or coloured face.
Many black and coloured public reps and activists are used as foot soldiers, whilst white senior leaders remain behind the DA boardroom tables and make decisions.
It was no coincidence that 18 months ago, we knew Alan Winde would be the preferred premier candidate in the Western Cape. This, considering the funding of the party is held by a small white minority to control the black and coloured majority.
Slowly, the wheels are turning as donors are refusing funding for the DA. Slowly, the DA is exposing themselves, because who they claim supports them no longer continues to do so.
Slowly, the black faces are disappearing because they no longer will be used by those in power sitting in senior party and government positions.
I can no longer support a racist regime who continues to undermine my fight for non-racialism and equality.
I can no longer serve a party that claims a particular set of values but acts contrary to those values.
I can no longer serve a party that is inconsistent with the application of rules where some are above them.
I will continue to serve the people of South Africa in any capacity and will endeavour to do so with integrity and the principles that will put our citizens before us as politicians.
In conclusion, I want to thank my family, colleagues, friends and those I have served in our communities for their support and commitment through my political journey. I pledge to continue being a servant for the people and will continue to work tirelessly for a better SA.