John Steenhuisen, DA Chief Whip, is currently writing up new caucus rules to rein in MPs who continue to display 'ill discipline' on social media. This comes as the opposition party took a 400 000 voter hit in the elections.
Infighting, ill discipline and contradicting messages are being flagged as some of the main reasons why the Democratic Alliance failed to perform in the May elections.
News24 reports that the party's federal council had met to take stock of where they went wrong, and MPs having it out on social media has been earmarked as a root cause.
The federal legal commission (FLC) currently deals with conduct issues, but John Steenhuisen is taking matters to a parliamentary level as well:
“We are going to be proposing a number of steps that we can use internally which won’t require us to go to the FLC but for which there will be sufficient sanction such as letters of reprimand and admonishment that would then go to the member's file and any interview process."
These points will also feature in the MP's performance reviews, and will be considered when they are scored, particularly on the 'values and attitude' section of the DA, Steenhuisen commented.
Steenhuisen feels that social media would need it's own section when the DA's digital media policy is reviewed, saying that current policy is a 'bit broad':
“If you put a tweet out that is damaging to the party, it affects the electoral prospects of the party and that puts jobs of MPs, MPLs and thousands of councillors at risk."
Steenhuisen agrees that public disputes have caused the party to suffer at the polls, saying that:
“Already in this election, five members of Parliament didn’t make it back. I have no doubt that the so-called inward-looking squabbling is what switched a lot of voters off.”
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