Ghaleb Cachalia vows to continue speaking truth to power after DA demotion over pro-Palestine remarks

DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/Independent Newspapers

DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 3, 2023


The recently axed former Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on public enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, says he will now serve from the backbenches after being demoted for his pro-Palestine comments.

He has been replaced by Mimmy Gondwe, who will now be the DA spokesperson on public enterprises.

On Tuesday morning, Cachalia had tweeted: “I will not be silenced. Israel is committing Genocide. Full 🩸 BLOODY 🩸 stop”.

Some on X, formerly Twitter, praised him and others warned him it would not go down well with the party.

“Good for you. I disagree with much of what you say. But in the context of your party this is courageous. And I completely agree,” tweeted Cedric de Beer.

“Thank you for your strong stance. A pity your colleagues and official party stance are not in sync,” said Rumpole.

“Well, I hope your bosses at the DA will take you to task for tweeting foreign policy under their banner. You can tweet in your private capacity, but NOT as an MP representative of the DA! Offside,” said Eric Ricaby.

As of Friday morning, over 9,000 Palestinians have been killed as Israeli forces continue to bomb civilians. Among the dead, over 3,700 children have been killed.

In firing Cachalia as a party spokesperson, DA leader John Steenhuisen said Cachalia was in breach of a resolution taken at the national caucus meeting on October 19, where it was resolved that the DA’s position was in favour of a two-state solution and against the attacks on Israel that occurred on October 7.

The DA also called for the upholding of international law and access to humanitarian aid in Gaza.

The party also appointed the international relations and cooperation spokesperson on this issue, and it was resolved to establish a policy platform for structured discussions on foreign policy matters, including the Middle East conflict.

“Your conduct amounts to a display of remarkable selfishness. You have demonstrated a disregard for a formal decision of the DA's national caucus.”

Cachalia in his statement said he would remain loyal “to the values and principles of the DA”.

“This is what always prompted and guided me to speak up against abuse,” he said.

Cachalia said he was contesting the version of events communicated by Steenhuisen, but he had no desire to engage further on the matter as it was ultimately Steenhuisen’s prerogative to hire and fire members of his shadow cabinet.

“I will now proceed to perform my legislative and oversight duties from the backbenches and will ensure that I serve the party and the nation in continuing what I began,” said Cachalia.

“I entered politics to remove (former president Jacob) Zuma and followed through to eradicate his legacy of ineptitude and malfeasance which persists in the current (African National Congress) ANC. I will persevere in this regard in the run-up to the election next year,” he said.

“I will continue to keep a watchful eye on human rights abuses here and globally and will always speak truth to power.”

In April 2016, the son of Struggle icons Yusuf and Amina Cachalia, jumped ship, joining the DA from the ANC, a party whose beliefs and morals he grew up with. He was announced as the DA’s 2016 mayoral candidate for Ekurhuleni.

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