The DA has severe misgivings about the withdrawal of our candidate in the upcoming Ward 7 Johannesburg by-election. This decision comes after at least one meeting our candidate had with Gayton McKenzie, a meeting that he discussed with the DA campaign manager in the ward.
According to a sworn affidavit by Nicola du Plessis, our campaign manager, the candidate, Randell Markgraaff, told her on 5 June and again on 7 June that he had been invited to a meeting with Gayton McKenzie and said he wanted to attend as there was a possibility of being offered up to R5-million in order to move with his family to Cape Town. Find the affidavit here.
Ms. du Plessis, and another DA public representative, subsequently confirmed that the meeting between McKenzie and Markgraaff had indeed taken place. However, following a three-hour discussion with the candidate, he confirmed that he was committed to the DA campaign.
A DA public representative then warned us to be wary of what might happen on June 16, Youth Day, in relation to the candidate. As it transpired, Markgraaff chose this date, today, to withdraw from the campaign, at a time when it is too late for the Party to nominate an alternative candidate.
The withdrawal also comes after significant investment in the candidate and the by-election campaign. The candidate was enthusiastic to be running for the DA in the ward until shortly before his meeting with McKenzie. At this point, his attitude changed.
Announcing his withdrawal from the campaign on Facebook today, Markgraaff also stated that he would deliver a public address via Facebook tonight. Such Facebook addresses are also drawn from the McKenzie playbook.
This shocking development raises serious questions about the integrity of the electoral process and the extent to which “mafia tactics” may now even be undermining the country’s ability to hold free and fair elections. This should be of the utmost concern to all South Africans.
This is a betrayal of the trust of the Ennerdale community, but the implications stretch far beyond this to the very fabric of our democracy. However, we want to say to all residents of Ward 7: we in the DA remain steadfast in our commitment to you. Despite this setback, we will not abandon our duty to serve the community of Ennerdale. We will continue to fight for good governance, transparency, and accountability in Ward 7, across Johannesburg, and the entire country.
We are currently engaging with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to determine the best course of action in response to this matter. We are committed to ensuring that the electoral process is fair, transparent, and free from corruption. The DA will continue to stand strong against any form of political manipulation and corruption. We will always put the interests of our country’s communities first, and we will not be deterred by those who seek to undermine our democratic processes.