Con­flict of in­ter­est calls in Kim­ber­ley

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SANDI KWON HOO

CAN­DI­DATES who will be con­test­ing the ward 24 by-elec­tions in Kim­ber­ley on June 14 be­lieve that there may be a con­flict of in­ter­est, where the DA can­di­date, who is also the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the North­ern Cape Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, will be stand­ing to be elected as a ward coun­cil­lor.

The va­cancy arose in vot­ing dis­tricts in Lin­dene, Rhodes­dene, Carters Glen and Hadi­son Park fol­low­ing the death of DA ward coun­cil­lor Dirk van der Merwe ear­lier this year.

The ward is his­tor­i­cally a DA strong­hold.

EFF provin­cial leader Aubrey Baart­man said the party had selected a can­di­date to con­test the ward.

“The DA can­di­date is in­ter­est­ing, as there could be a po­ten­tial clash be­cause Nocci is not sup­posed to be aligned to any po­lit­i­cal party.

“Steyn should have stood as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date if she chose to en­ter the po­lit­i­cal arena,” said Baart­man.

Free­dom Front Plus can­di­date Kobus van der Berg was con­vinced he would have the up­per hand in the by-elec­tion.

“I will be rep­re­sent­ing the ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents in this vot­ing district. Our mem­bers are in­creas­ing on a daily ba­sis,” said Van der Berg.

He pointed out that be­ing the Nocci chief ex­ec­u­tive and a ward can­di­date were both full-time jobs.

“Nocci is sup­posed to be an apo­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion. The two roles are bound to over­lap.”

ANC provin­cial spokesper­son Naledi Gaosekwe chose not to com­ment on the DA can­di­date.

The ANC’s Melga To­bias will con­test the by-elec­tion next week.

Steyn, mean­while, de­nied there would be any con­flict of in­ter­est and said she was stand­ing in her per­sonal ca­pac­ity as a ward coun­cil­lor, and Nocci would be her first pri­or­ity.

“I am fo­cused on im­prov­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. I will have two sep­a­rate phones… and my ward coun­cil­lor phone will be switched on after hours and dur­ing week­ends and I will as­sign some­one else if a com­plaint is re­ceived dur­ing work­ing hours,” she said.

“It is rather an ex­ten­sion of what I am do­ing: I keep peo­ple in­formed of what is hap­pen­ing in the city.”

‘NO CON­FLICT’: Nocci chief ex­ec­u­tive Sharon Steyn

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