Newly elected DA leader in the Eastern Cape Nqaba Bhanga has started his term on the wrong foot causing an embarrassment, federal chairperson Athol Trollip said.
Shortly before Bhanga was announced as the new leader in the province, it was established that he had been missing since Friday afternoon. He was also not present when the results were read.
DA officials were in a state of confusion as they were unable to locate him. Bhanga finally emerged an hour after the announcement.
An enraged Trollip said Bhanga's actions were in poor form.
"Whatever the reason for him not being here, it was in poor form. I don't know what the reasons were. I haven't heard from him what the reasons were."
Trollip said Bhanga's actions were a pity considering that the party's national leader Mmusi Maimane was present. He said it was sad that he did not hear Maimane's speech.
"He embarrassed himself, the party and our national leader. I certainly hope he is going to learn from it."
When News24 asked Bhanga why he had missed the announcement proclaiming his as the provincial leader, Bhanga saaid he was nervous about the responsibility. He said he did not want to be a failure and apologised.
He was then asked if his absence was a signal that he was unreliable, he said, "I'm reliable with a good track record. I apologise for being late. I'm reliable because I take responsibility for my actions."
He thanked Trollip as his mentor and brother. He said Trollip gave him a second life when he was still a leader at Cope.
Bhanga praised Trollip for taking him away from leadership battles claiming that he now sleeps well.
"I appreciate that. I take Trollip as a brother and Mentor. I am telling you that after this press conference, I am going to get a few lashes."
Bhanga said Trollip taught him about time and responsibility.
Along with Trollip, they would be change makers and ensure that people do not see colour, he said.
Addressing his detractors, Bhanga said he knew that some thought of him as Trollip's pawn.
"People say I'm a lackey of a white person, I'm a pawn. I always say, I'm not embarrassed to be friends with Trollip."
He said the enemy was poverty that was confronting people on a daily basis.
"We do not have the luxury to play around and divide ourselves. We have to work together."
He said his focus would be on the mobilisation and improvement of the auxiliary structures.
He said the success of the party was dependent on the young intelligentsia. -- News24