ANC-DA coali­tion col­lapses in small town

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

The only ANC-DA coali­tion gov­ern­ment in South Africa, in a lit­tle-known mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the Western Cape, has fallen apart after the ANC ex­pelled its mayor and deputy mayor in the area.

Kan­na­land’s ANC mayor, Mag­dalena Barry, and her deputy, Philli­pus An­tonie, have ap­proached the courts to over­turn their ex­pul­sion with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. Both were re­called by the ANC’s Western Cape provin­cial sec­re­tary, Faiez Ja­cobs, on Wed­nes­day.

The hear­ing on the ter­mi­na­tion of the two ANC coun­cil­lors’ mem­ber­ship will be held this week.

An added twist to the saga is that nei­ther the ANC’s na­tional nor its provin­cial lead­er­ship was of­fi­cially in­formed when the two en­tered into this highly un­usual co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment after the Au­gust 2016 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

It is un­der­stood the deal was bro­kered to keep out the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ing party, the In­de­pen­dent Civic Or­gan­i­sa­tion of SA (Icosa), fol­low­ing a fall­out be­tween that party and its for­mer al­liance part­ner, the ANC.

The Kan­na­land DA-ANC part­ner­ship came to light as the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers was crit­i­cised for lend­ing its coun­cil­lor num­bers to po­lit­i­cal par­ties to clinch sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across South Africa.

Such deal-mak­ing places power pol­i­tics in lo­cal gov­ern­ment in the spot­light. In Kan­na­land the coun­cil was al­ways pre­car­i­ous: the DA and ANC held two coun­cil­lor seats each, while Icosa held three. By join­ing forces, the DA and ANC ousted Icosa, which had won 48% of the vote in the mu­nic­i­pal polls.

Kan­na­land mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­cludes the four South­ern Cape towns of Ladi­smith, Cal­itz­dorp, Zoar and Van­wyks­dorp, which are mainly farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Ja­cobs told City Press that Barry and An­tonie were “re­called” be­cause of the vastly dif­fer­ent poli­cies es­poused by the ANC and DA. He con­firmed that the politi­cians en­tered into the deal with­out au­tho­ri­sa­tion by ANC na­tional or provin­cial struc­tures.

The re­gional lead­er­ship was given four months to exit the coali­tion be­cause there was no work­ing agree­ment be­tween the two par­ties, added Ja­cobs.

He said the ANC provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee found this re­la­tion­ship un­ten­able, given the two par­ties’ fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent ide­olo­gies.

Ja­cobs ad­mit­ted that “lots of cor­rup­tion ... had hap­pened [in Kan­na­land] in the past”, adding that it was the ANC that had called on the na­tional gov­ern­ment to help clean up the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Bonginkosi Madik­izela, the DA’s newly elected Western Cape leader, said while the coali­tion with the ANC was not ideal and had not been ap­proved by DA lead­er­ship struc­tures, it was func­tional in that ser­vices were de­liv­ered to the peo­ple.

“The provin­cial Cabi­net is dis­cussing Kan­na­land’s re­cov­ery plan to­day,” he said on Wed­nes­day.

“Al­though the move had no bless­ing from lead­er­ship, ser­vice de­liv­ery is hap­pen­ing. We had a choice to pull out of the coali­tion, as the ANC did, but we did not [do so] be­cause that would have left Kan­na­land in limbo.”

City Press has seen the no­ti­fi­ca­tion sent to the two ANC mem­bers. But this is not per­mis­si­ble in terms of the ANC Con­sti­tu­tion, as no dis­ci­plinary hear­ing took place.

The ex­pelled mayor and deputy were over­see­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity im­pli­cat­ing fel­low ANC mem­bers in al­leged cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties.

Barry and An­tonie say this is the rea­son Ja­cobs ex­pelled them as they are in a dif­fer­ent fac­tional camp to those be­ing probed.

Madik­izela con­firmed that an of­fi­cial probe was un­der way. “The ANC is try­ing to pre­vent the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause its mem­bers are im­pli­cated,” said Madik­izela about the ANC’s with­drawal from the coali­tion.

In a bizarre twist, Barry has opened a case of fraud with po­lice. Ac­cord­ing to a source, SMSes and let­ters were distributed, stat­ing that Barry had re­signed as Kan­na­land mayor. This was days be­fore the “re­call” by her party.

Barry would not re­spond to City Press’ ques­tions, say­ing she wanted to talk to the party lead­er­ship first.

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