ANC manager suspended by DA-Cope executive

2011-07-18 12:53

In the latest political strife in Bitou municipality, the new Democratic Alliance-Cope executive in Plettenberg Bay council has suspended ANC municipal manager Lonwabo Ngoqo.

DA cooperative governance spokesperson James Lorimer said today that Ngoqo was suspended for “non-cooperation” after he presented mayor Memory Booysen with a lawyer’s letter stating that officials would not work with the new council.

The ANC condemned his suspension, calling it a case of “political harassment”.

The DA suggested that Ngoqo was refusing to give details of financial affairs at the municipality where he has been manager since 2008.

Lorimer accused him of trying to obstruct the DA-Cope alliance until a legal appeal by Cope’s former deputy president Sam Shilowa contesting the election of a Cope councillor aligned to party leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

Cope emerged as kingmakers in the council in the May local government elections after the DA and the ANC each won six seats.

“If the Shilowa faction wins I believe it will return control of the council to the ANC and the long dark night of financial management will continue.

“But as the Independent Electoral Commission has already pronounced on this issue I believe Shilowa’s court bid will fail.”

Lorimer accused Ngoqo as being “at the root of wickedness” in Bitou.

“Bitou has been bankrupted by years of ANC misrule. Democracy has produced a change of leadership and now key municipal staff who were deployed by the ANC are trying to hide what has gone on before.”

The Western Cape leadership of the DA made resolving problems in Bitou a priority after the party made significant gains in the province in the May poll.

ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said the party did not recognise the DA-Cope “working arrangement” as a legitimate coalition because the two parties contested the election separately.

He accused the DA of purging ANC officials.

“It is the same thing we saw after the DA took power in Cape Town. It is a purging of officials because they are perceived to be ANC and it is illegal. It smells of political harassment.”

Mjongile denied allegations of past corruption in Bitou saying: “It was a very well run municipality.”

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