Ex-mayor blames Zille for de­fec­tion

‘Many DA coun­cil­lors are afraid to speak out’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDEN­HUYS

FOR­MER DA mayor of the Matzikama mu­nic­i­pal­ity Patric Bok has re­signed to join the ANC, cit­ing DA leader and pro­vin­cial pre­mier He­len Zille as the rea­son.

Com­plain­ing that Zille branded au­di­ence mem­bers as cor­rupt, and ac­cused them of steal­ing state re­sources at a con­tro­ver­sial Sal­danha meet­ing on Thurs­day, Bok went fur­ther to charge that racist prac­tices were still the or­der of the day in his for­mer party, that ser­vices are de­liv­ered only to white com­mu­ni­ties, and that farm­work­ers “get evicted on a daily ba­sis by those lead­ing the DA”.

At a me­dia brief­ing to an­nounce the switch yes­ter­day, Bok made ref­er­ence to the Sal­danha meet­ing at which Zille was booed off the stage, then com­plained af­ter­wards about the lack of in­ter­ven­tion by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

The for­mer mayor of the Matzikama mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which in­cludes Vre­den­dal, Klawer, Dor­ing­baai, Strand­fontein and Van­rhyns­dorp, said Zille had ac­cused the au­di­ence of be­ing cor­rupt be­fore step­ping off the stage.

Asked to re­spond, Zak Mb­hele, spokesman for Zille, sug­gested the ANC sup­port­ers in the au­di­ence – not nec­es­sar­ily every­body there – were guilty of turn­ing a state­funded event into a party-po­lit­i­cal rally.

“The ANC made

it­self guilty of cor­rup­tion and abuse of tax­pay­ers’ money,” he said.

Mb­hele added that it was clear from the start that the event in Sal­danha “was planned to be­come an ANC rally with ve­hi­cles hav­ing brought peo­ple in from other ar­eas and ANC T-shirts be­ing dis­trib­uted be­fore the func­tion”.

The “event com­pletely ig­nored the sep­a­ra­tion be­tween party and state, and the ANC’s use of state fund­ing as its pri­vate pig­gy­bank must stop”.

Bok was mayor be­tween 2007 and 2011 as a mem­ber of the In­de­pen­dent Democrats (ID), when the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was run by a DA/ID coali­tion.

The Matzikama mu­nic­i­pal­ity is cur­rently con­trolled by a coali­tion be­tween the ANC and two smaller par­ties.

Bok was flanked by ANC pro­vin­cial chair­man and deputy in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions min­is­ter Mar­ius Frans­man, and ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Songezo Mjongile at the me­dia brief­ing, held at the ANC’s pro­vin­cial head­quar­ters in the city cen­tre.

He also com­plained that many coun­cil­lors were un­happy in the DA, but feared in­tim­i­da­tion should they speak out about their griev­ances.

Wel­com­ing Bok, Frans­man said Bok de­cided to join the ANC with­out “bar­gain­ing for a po­si­tion”. hen­ri­ette.gelden­huys

@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: SIYAB­ULELA DUDA, GCIS

NOD OF AP­PROVAL: South Penin­sula High Grade 11 pupil Ja­son Ben­jamin gets up close and per­sonal with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. The pres­i­dent was host­ing fi­nal­ists of the Eskom Expo for Young Sci­en­tists at the Se­fako Makgatho Pres­i­den­tial Guest House in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day.

PIC­TURE: THOMAS HOLDER

OPT­ING OUT: Ward coun­cil­lor and for­mer mayor of the Matzikama mu­nic­i­pal­ity Patric Bok an­nounced yes­ter­day that he is re­sign­ing from the DA and join­ing the ANC. He is seen here with, left, ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Songezo Mjongile, and pro­vin­cial chair­man Mar­ius Frans­man, right, who is also deputy in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions min­is­ter.

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