Ex-DA councillor to sue for defamation after DA says he’s a thief

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Former Ward 47 councillor, John Du Bruin. Photo: Seithati Semenokane

In a statement on Thursday, DA constituency head in Bloemfontein James Letuka accused the party’s former councillor John Matthews du Bruin of only resigning due to facing internal disciplinary charges in the DA.

Letuka said charges for misconduct were brought against him by the DA’s Federal Legal Commission, and Du Bruin resigned two days later.

Letuka claimed the party had video footage of Du Bruin stealing a cellphone from a party activist.

The former ward councillot, however, said this was untrue and no charges had ever been laid against him. He said he was seeking legal advice about the allegedly defamatory statement.

The DA also alleged they had received “numerous complaints” from ward 47 residents “who expressed concern about [Du Bruin’s] callousness in dealing with service delivery issues brought to his attention”.

Letuka further alleged Du Bruin had mistreated informal traders, “who accuse him of taking their goods without paying for them”. They further said he “constantly threatens them that he will bar them from trading”.

Du Bruin resigned on Monday to join the Patriotic Alliance (PA) in the lead-up to next year’s general elections. He told The Citizen on Wednesday that the PA had offered to make him a legislature candidate in the Free State.

He will not personally be contesting the by-election that will be called in Ward 47 in Heidedal.

The DA won this ward for the first time in 2016 after it had been held by the ANC since the dawn of democracy.

Du Bruin had earlier said he no longer felt comfortable in the DA as it “is a white party that defends white people’s interests. They have a baasskap mentality. The leadership of the DA [in the Free State] is basically just white and black, with too few coloured people,” he alleged of his experience in the province.

“I joined Patriotic Alliance because I could see they care for their people.”

The DA said on Thursday that Du Bruin’s claim of mistreatment by the DA was “disingenuous as he tries to shift attention away from his shortcomings as a public representative”.

Called for comment, PA president Gayton McKenzie claimed the DA was not being entirely honest about the matter.

“They only started giving him letters after they heard last week that I personally flew down to go meet with him to join the PA.

“We have seen this tactic over and over again of accusing people of terrible wrongdoing when they decide to leave the DA. We have seen it with Patricia De Lille. We have seen it with the five councillors that left and are now seeing it again with Councillor John.

“Strangely, they always wish the white members who leave the DA well but the blacks they brand as criminals.”

He said the PA would continue to support Du Bruin and “stand by him 100%”.

“They had better prepare more accusations for other people because more of them are coming to join the PA,” he added.

Charles Cilliers / The Citizen