DA bid to remove Knysna mayor fails

2019-05-31 13:33
Knysna Mayor Mark Willems. (knysna.gov.za)

Knysna Mayor Mark Willems. (knysna.gov.za)

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The DA's latest attempt to remove Knysna Mayor Mark Willemse, who is himself a DA councillor, has failed.

Seven of the nine DA members sitting on the town council on Thursday brought a motion of no confidence against Willemse, the municipality confirmed.

Twelve councillors voted against the no-confidence motion, while seven voted for and there was one spoilt ballot.

The motion was brought by Michelle Wasserman, the would-be mayor elect. 

In another setback for the DA, council speaker Georlene Wolmarans was removed as speaker following an ANC-sponsored motion of no confidence.

Wolmarans was replaced by ANC councillor Mertle Gombo.

In a statement, DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said the motion was tabled because "Mayor Willemse and councillor [Peter] Myers, made a decision to go against their caucus and against a request by the leadership and voted with the ANC in a MONC [motion of no confidence] to remove the [previous] DA mayor", last year.

"In the process, Willemse accepted and was elected as mayor by a majority of ANC councillors. He has since been kept in his position by the ANC... he is effectively an ANC mayor."

Madikizela said the DA caucus had thus lost confidence in him as mayor due to the ANC councillors' continued support.

He added that "a person cannot execute the duties of a mayor if he/she does not have the support of their party, councillors and officials".

"The work of this municipality must not stand still, and it is crucial that a clear strategy with decisive leadership be restored, so that the issues facing the community of Knysna can be addressed."

Last June, Willemse told supporters after his election as mayor that the implications of his election were unprecedented, and indicated that he wanted to work with ANC councillors for the good of the town, News24 reported.

READ: 'This has never happened before' - new Knysna mayor amid DA tussle

"I'm overwhelmed by your show of force to keep me on as mayor," he told supporters, as seen in a video on Facebook and reported by the Knysna-Plett Herald.

"We need to keep this force going. I'm not going to stand back," he said to cheers and applause. "I'm not going to allow this process to be steamrolled.

"The DA leadership is talking and trying to find solutions because this is unique; this has never happened in the country before. It has never happened where the ANC and the DA are working together for the good of a town."

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Read more on:    da  |  mark willemse  |  cape town
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