DA condemns ‘coup d’état-style’ ousting of Knysna mayor
Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela says two DA councillors in Knysna who supported the motion acted without the party’s mandate
The DA’s political woes continued on Thursday with two of the party’s councillors working in cahoots with the ANC to oust the mayor of Knysna.
The DA in the Western Cape has been in turmoil for months, with the party’s structures attempting and failing to oust Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. Early this week De Lille was in the High Court in Cape Town fighting against a possible dismissal from the party. Judgment was reserved.
This week it was in the smaller municipalities such as Knysna that the party was caught unawares.
On Wednesday Knysna’s former mayor, Eleanore Bouw-Spies, was ousted without the knowledge or endorsement of the party’s national structures and replaced by DA councillor Mark Willemse.
Fears are that this could inspire disgruntled councillors in other municipalities to follow suit. Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip have both also faced, and survived, opposition-tabled motions of no confidence.
Former Mogale City mayor Michael Holenstein was successfully ousted in an ANC-sponsored motion of no confidence after some DA councillors voted in support of the motion.
Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela described Wednesday’s move in Knysna as a “coup”.
Complicating the matter was that Elrick van Aswegen, a councillor from one of the DA’s official coalition partners, the Congress of the People (Cope), was then elected as the deputy mayor. This could indicate divisions in the governing coalition in Knysna.
The DA is in a national coalition with the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the United Democratic Movement. Cope and the ACDP are the DA’s official coalition partners in Knysna.
Madikizela said the two DA councillors in Knysna who supported the motion acted without the party’s mandate. He said the DA caucus had walked out of the meeting, but the two remained.
Madikizela said the party should have been notified of any problems by the councillors.
“The DA caucus does not support this new mayor. He got himself elected with no mandate from the party.”
Meanwhile, the DA caucus in the Matzikama Municipality in the Vredendal area, in the Western Cape, also tabled a motion of no confidence against mayor Rhenda Stephan on Wednesday.
Madikizela said after an assessment they concurred with the caucus and allowed the motion to go ahead. However, the mayor then resigned.
He said in both cases the DA councillor had been elected to the mayoral position.