- The DA has lost control of the Central-Karoo District Municipality in the Western Cape.
- The DA's coalition partner in the municipality has decided to join forces with the ANC.
- At the centre of the dispute between the parties is an investigation into a R12 million government project.
The DA is no longer the kings of the Karoo after its coalition partner ended a four-year relationship, and jumped into bed with the ANC.
While the ANC is celebrating the move, the DA Western Cape has said the coalition agreement came to an end due to their "zero-tolerance" approach to corruption.
The Central Karoo District Municipality's new mayor is the Karoo Gemeenskap Party's (KGP) Isak Windvogel. His deputy, Margaret Jafta, is also from the KGP.
The ANC's Mkhululi Hangana has been appointed as speaker, while his colleague Johanna Botha will serve on the mayoral committee.
After the 2016 municipal elections, the KGP and DA joined forces to form a coalition, in which Windvogel served as speaker,
but DA MPL and Beaufort West constituency head Daylin Mitchell said the relationship with the KGP became untenable due to the DA's zero-tolerance approach to corruption and its "relentless undertaking to clean out the administration".
He said in August 2019, the municipal council agreed to launch an investigation into a Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) project, commonly known as the Africa Creek project, totaling R12 million.
Mitchell said it came on the back of a decision by the Western Cape government to investigate the matter, after a report from a whistle-blower.
He said the Africa Creek report was sent to (the DA's former) mayor, Annelie Rabie, in May and, two days later, she informally furnished Windvogel (now the mayor of the municipality) with a copy of the report.
"However, since it was lockdown, the mayor was unable to table the report in council. A report of this nature would ordinarily have been submitted to the municipal manager (MM). However, the MM is named in the report and, since the MM reports to council via the mayor, the report was submitted to the mayor," Mitchell said.
He also said, since the lockdown regulations were eased with regard to council meetings, Windvogel has on several occasions refused to allow Rabie to table the report in council.
"The DA has therefore asked Local Government MEC Anton Bredell to immediately request the new mayor (Windvogel) to table the forensic report. If the report is not tabled, we will have no other choice but to approach the courts.
"The DA will not be deterred in our commitment to speak for the most vulnerable to ensure that every citizen lives a life that they value," he said.
But the ANC's secretary in the Central-Karoo, Windy Plaatjies, said the KGP had lost all confidence in the DA's leadership style.
"The DA's refusal to deal with service delivery issues, their habit of playing politics with people's lives and their point-blank refusal to address the developmental agenda and the safety plan have upset KGP.
"The fact that the DA does not understand that a coalition is a collective, and that no party leads, has also alienated the KPG. Their relationship with the DA was also soured by the provincial government's constant interference, as well as DA party bosses trying to micro-manage matters in the Karoo from Cape Town," he said.
Plaatjies said the parties agreed to work with national and provincial government to improve service delivery in the region.
"We will, like all district municipalities in the country, support the initiatives of the President District Model approach.
"We will support the president's deployment of national champions to our district.
"We are glad that the president is again trying to activate the model points, as we once were an area identified as a nodal point," he said.