ANC withdraws from coalition with Icosa in Kannaland Municipality

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ICOSA councillor Hyrin Ruiters congratulates Jeffrey Donson with his election as Kannaland mayor, with his deputy, Werner Meshoa also in attendance.
ICOSA councillor Hyrin Ruiters congratulates Jeffrey Donson with his election as Kannaland mayor, with his deputy, Werner Meshoa also in attendance.
  • The ANC has withdrawn from its coalition with Icosa in the troubled Kannaland Municipality.
  • This after an uproar about the election of Icosa's convicted child rapist Jeffrey Donson as mayor.
  • The municipality also continues to be rocked by corruption.

The ANC has withdrawn its participation in a coalition with the convicted child rapist mayor of Kannaland Jeffrey Donson and his deputy, convicted fraudster Werner Meshoa.

Both Donson and Meshoa are senior leaders of Icosa, which entered into a coalition agreement with the ANC after the municipal elections.

After News24 reported they were elected to their positions despite their previous convictions and the resulting uproar, the ANC said it would review its arrangement with Icosa in Kannaland.

On Wednesday, ANC Western Cape spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni confirmed the party had withdrawn from its coalition with Icosa and would instead enter the opposition benches, with the provincial leadership visiting the municipality to bring effect to the decision.

At this stage, a motion of no confidence in Donson is not mooted. However, the ANC will ask its speaker in the council, Nicolaas Valentyn, to resign from this position.

READ | Convicted child rapist mayor Jeffrey Donson is going nowhere, says his party Icosa

The ANC's decision only related to its coalition agreement with Icosa in Kannaland, and from the ANC's side, it will not affect its coalition in neighbouring Oudtshoorn.

Mtsweni said the party's decision on Kannaland was in line with its own internal policies - the so-called step-aside rule.

He pointed out the DA - which has criticised Donson's election as mayor - worked with him in the past, despite his conviction being known.

Last week, Icosa indicated Donson and Meshoa were going nowhere and accused the media of an agenda against them.

In 2008, Donson was found guilty of statutory rape by the regional court in Oudtshoorn. The rape of the 15-year-old girl occurred in 2004 when he was mayor of Kannaland.

He was initially sentenced to five years in prison. He appealed to the Western Cape High Court, where Judge Lee Bozalek reduced his sentence to a wholly suspended term of imprisonment, correctional supervision, a R20 000 fine, and a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.

Later in 2008, he was back in the Kannaland municipal council.

Earlier this year, Meshoa, while speaker of the Kannaland council, was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice.

For the fraud conviction, he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment or a R6 000 fine - and, for the obstruction of justice conviction, suspended for four years, with 36 months house arrest for obstruction of justice.

In 2012, Meshoa was fired as a teacher and head of department at Excelsior Primary School in Calitzdorp - one of the towns in the Kannaland Municipality - after being found guilty of sexual assault and statutory rape of a pupil at the school.

He appealed unsuccessfully, and the Education Labour Relations Council found he was indeed guilty of the allegations and the dismissal was fair.

Meanwhile, the Klein Karoo municipality continues to be rocked by corruption scandals.  

READ | Kannaland deputy mayor was fired as teacher after being found guilty of sexual misconduct with pupil

On Wednesday, Kannaland's acting municipal manager, Morné Hoogbaard, announced he had opened a criminal case of fraud against a Kannaland human resource functionary.

"This official persists in wrongdoing after reinstatement and significant settlement by a former authority," read Hoogbaard's statement.

The council also met on Wednesday, with Valentyn still in the speaker's chair. It discussed allegations of serious financial misconduct by a senior finance official, who allegedly made a payment to a person in contravention of National Treasury regulations.

According to Hoogbaard's statement, the council was advised to reconsider its decision on 22 November 2020 to appoint this official.

"Both functionaries are suspended with full benefits," he said. "This is the start of several criminal and mismanagement matters to be actioned."

Hoogbaard himself was one of four Kannaland municipal officials arrested by the Hawks last week for alleged fraud worth R338 million.

The Hawks alleged the officials defrauded the municipality through fraudulent appointments and acting allowances. One official's company also allegedly benefitted while the municipality still employed him.

"The director of corporate services, Hendrick Barnard; the former chief financial officer, Nigel Delo; the municipal manager, Morné Hoogbaard and the human resources manager, McGrandile Makier, appeared in the Ladismith Magistrate's Court and were released on R15 000 bail each," Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said.

The case was postponed to 26 January 2022 and will be heard in the Oudtshoorn Regional Court.

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