Bit­ter af­ter­tas­te to their vic­to­ry cha­li­ce

DA laun­ches re­view of coun­cil­lors’ success­ful ap­pe­al

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - Ya­seen Gaf­far

“It’s a­ma­zing, we’ve been vin­di­ca­ted. All sancti­ons ha­ve been res­cin­ded.” T­he­se we­re the words of an e­la­ted Knys­na coun­cil­lor Pe­ter My­ers in re­acti­on to the success­ful ap­pe­al by him­self and ma­yor Mark Wil­lem­se to o­ver­turn a ru­ling by a dis­ci­pli­na­ry pa­nel that found them guil­ty of mis­con­duct and han­ded sus­pen­ded sen­ten­ces of mem­bers­hip ter­mi­na­ti­on.

The two coun­cil­lors we­re in­for­med by the DA last week that all char­ges a­gainst them ha­ve been dis­mis­sed.

But the ce­le­bra­to­ry drink ca­me with a bit of a bit­ter af­ter­tas­te w­hen the DA sur­pri­singly an­noun­ced that it would ta­ke its own de­ci­si­on un­der re­view.

The o­ri­gi­nal pa­nel had found the two coun­cil­lors guil­ty of mis­con­duct for “vo­ting with their con­s­cien­ces” to re­mo­ve for­mer ma­yor E­le­a­no­re Bou­wS­pies.

The ap­pe­al pa­nel res­cin­ded all sancti­ons a­gainst the two coun­cil­lors, which in­clu­ded that Wil­lem­se re­sign as ma­yor and My­ers be re­mo­ved from the ma­yo­ral com­mit­tee. “T­his puts be­hind us a long and dif­fi­cult or­de­al and we be­lie­ve the rig­ht out­co­me was ul­ti­ma­te­ly ar­ri­ved at,” a ju­bi­lant My­ers said af­ter he­a­ring the news. “The ap­pe­al pa­nel was pro­per­ly con­sti­tu­ted. T­hey had the ex­per­ti­se, t­hey had the kno­w­led­ge, and we are very ple­a­sed with the out­co­me.”

‘I’m still he­re as ma­yor’

Wil­lem­se had a si­mi­lar re­acti­on, but ad­ded that he was wai­ting for the DA le­a­ders­hip to com­mu­ni­ca­te with him on the way for­ward, w­hi­le the par­ty’s ma­yo­ral can­di­da­te Mi­chel­le Was­ser­man was still wai­ting in the wings.

“I ha­ven’t re­sig­ned, I’m still he­re,” said Wil­lem­se.

In the in­te­rim, Ja­mes Sel­fe, the par­ty’s fe­de­ral coun­cil chair, re­le­a­sed a sta­te­ment that the DA no­tes the out­co­mes of the Fe­de­ral Le­gal Com­mis­si­on (FLC) pro­cess in the mat­ter re­la­ting to the two DA coun­cil­lors but that “the ap­pe­al was up­held by the FLC on pro­ce­du­ral grounds”.

“T­his FLC out­co­me did not ho­we­ver re­flect the me­rits of the mat­ter and we are con­sulting the par­ty la­wy­ers with the view of ta­king the FLC de­ci­si­on on re­view. Furt­her in­for­ma­ti­on will be com­mu­ni­ca­ted in due cour­se,” re­ads the sta­te­ment from Sel­fe.

Wil­lem­se said that t­his was dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand, cal­ling it “disin­ge­nu­ous” as it me­ans the DA would ta­ke their own de­ci­si­on on re­view, “which doe­sn’t ma­ke any sen­se”.

“In our o­pi­ni­on the ap­pe­al was up­held on fac­tu­al grounds, not just pro­ce­du­ral grounds. Any de­ci­si­on for re­view will not ta­ke Knys­na for­ward. We need to ha­ve con­clu­si­ve meet­ings to put t­his mat­ter to rest,” said Wil­lem­se.

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