ANC slams DA-led coalition's 'inability to govern', after Knysna mayor's ousting

2018-06-07 18:59
Eleanore Bouw-Spies (Supplied)

Eleanore Bouw-Spies (Supplied)

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The ANC in Knysna has slammed the DA-led coalition in the municipality after the ANC's motion of no confidence in now former mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies was passed on Wednesday.

Bouw-Spies was voted out on Wednesday by an ANC-sponsored motion, with the help of two DA councillors – Mark Willemse and former deputy mayor Peter Myers.

The two councillors broke ranks and gave the opposition-sponsored motion a majority of 11 votes in the 21-seater special council sitting.

The other seven DA councillors walked out before voting took place, while speaker Georlene Wolmarans was the only DA councillor who voted against the motion, the Knysna-Plett Herald reported.

Willemse, who is also the speaker of the broader Eden district, was then elected mayor, with Cope councillor Ricky van Aswegen elected as deputy.

READ: ANC gains on DA in two Western Cape by-elections

ANC Knysna chief whip Titi Gombo on Thursday said the result was a result of the DA coalition's "inability to govern".

"The marathon meeting of Knysna Council meeting held yesterday was a great failure of leadership. It clearly demonstrates the DA's inability to govern," Gombo said in a statement.

"We had on numerous occasions reported that the Knysna DA-led coalition is incapable of serving the plight of the community of Knysna."

Gombo defended the fact that it was their motion that saw Bouw-Spies removed, claiming they were not interested in cheap politicking, "to the detriment of service delivery".

Bouw-Spies' removal "proved" that it was not only the ANC that had lost confidence in her leadership, but two DA councillors and two smaller opposition parties.

Gombo was also unhappy that Bouw-Spies, according to a letter sent by provincial finance MEC Ivan Meyer, had not notified his office that the council had failed to pass its budget 30 days before the start of the new financial year, on July 1. It passed on Wednesday.

They applauded Wolmarans for not leaving the chambers or adjourning the meeting after the DA walkout and said they would continue to demand better governance from the DA-led coalition.

Fourth DA mayor in recent week

Bouw-Spies' ousting is the latest headache for the DA in the Western Cape, with several mayors having faced motions of no confidence this year, including Berg River Mayor Evert Manuel, Matzikama Mayor Rhenda Stephan, and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.

Myers lost his position as deputy mayor in the council in October last year. He remains a councillor.

Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela told News24 on Thursday that the move was "unacceptable" and had come with "no prior warning".

He criticised Willemse's and Myers' reasoning that they were "voting with their conscience".

"Their reasons given were that they were 'voting with their conscience'. But you can't vote with your conscience if you have a direct interest in the result," he said.

He and other provincial leaders would be going to Knysna on Friday to have an urgent meeting with the caucus and the two councillors to ascertain exactly what happened, and why the councillors voted with the opposition.

He did not want to pre-empt the outcome of the meeting, but repeated that their actions were "unacceptable".

Manager in the mayor's office, Priscilla September, said Willemse was not available for comment when contacted by News24, as he had just entered a meeting.

He had earlier spent the day commemorating the anniversary of the Knysna fires at various events in the town, but would answer questions via email.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  knysna

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