The DA’s youth wing is the latest to suffer from internal squabbles after members wrote a letter to the senior leadership asking them to intervene and force the Western Cape chairperson to resign.
Carl Pophaim, one of the youngest councillors in the Cape Town council, is facing pressure to resign from his DA Youth (DAY) position for failing to fulfil his duties.
In a letter addressed to the DA provincial committee and the DAY federal executive, the state of the youth wing in the province is outlined. The letter was authored by the members of the DAY provincial executive committee (PEC).
The letter states: “The chairperson has failed to call DAY PEC meetings
for extended periods of time, including an approximately one-year period in 2018/19 where the DAY PEC did not meet. During this time, the DA provincial committee met regularly, and the chairperson reported on DAY activities to the DA provincial committee of which the DAY PEC had no knowledge. It is of particular concern that the chairperson often disregarded requests from DAY PEC members for regular meetings.”
The letter stated that there was a “breakdown” within the structure which was a “cause of concern”.
“The request for the chairperson to resign is a last resort, taken after numerous requests made to the chairperson for more regular meetings and more accountability within the DAY PEC. As representatives of youth interests within the DA, we are of the opinion that it is vital that we build a culture of accountability in our country,” the letter stated.
DAY deputy chairperson of administration Saliem Aberselie said: “We submitted the report because we reached a point where we had no constructive way forward. As youth, we simply sought the guidance of our federal youth leaders and our provincial mother body. We, however, still await them to report back to us.”
Pressed on whether Pophaim was a capable chairperson despite the letter stating that he had failed to fulfil his duties to inform the PEC or attend meetings, Aberselie said: “I am telling you about matters as they are now.”
DAY deputy chairperson for campaigns and recruitment, Mikhail Manuel, said: “This is an internal report and this is a party matter which I cannot comment on.”
The matter was reported to the youth federal executive committee.
Zahid Badroodien, the chairperson of the DAY federal executive, said: “The matter has been served before the national management committee and we have submitted a report to the federation legal council.”
Pophaim is also the custodian of the Junior City Council and the campaign manager for Grant Twigg, who is running against mayor Dan Plato for metro regional chairperson. Twigg told the Cape Argus: “Councillor Pophaim is the elected youth chairperson until a congress decides otherwise.”
On the call for his resignation, Pophaim said: “I am still the elected DA Youth Western Cape chairperson and will not be deterred by internal congress campaign tactics of attempts to discredit me.”
ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed said the matter showed instability within the DAY branch. “There is an effort to purge leaders, especially coloured leaders, who are not part of the Helen Zille cabal,” he said.