DA in-fighting could cost them Knysna
THE DA-led council in Knysna is on shaky ground following the voting out of the municipality’s deputy mayor, who claims he was hurriedly removed for speaking out against alleged incidents of maladministration.
DA councillor Peter Myers was booted out at a special council meeting this past Wednesday after a vote of no-confidence called by the party’s chief whip in Knysna, Levael Davis, and seconded by fellow councillor Cathy Weideman.
According to the party, the vote of no-confidence came because Myers had alienated his DA colleagues in the council and made unsubstantiated allegations against the town’s mayor, Eleanore Bouw-Spies, colleagues and other officials.
Myers said the reason for the breakdown in his working relationship with his colleagues was that he refused to vote in favour of decisions he felt were, at times, illegal.
“The reason I couldn’t work well with others is that I am committed to good governance, fighting maladministration and corruption and I did not vote with the rest of my colleagues on a number of items in previous council meetings that I considered to be illegal and they got very annoyed me with me and said they won’t work with me if I am not going to agree with them, and I said I couldn’t because we would be breaking the law,” he said.
“Some of what they did I reported it to police. I will not compromise my integrity, I want clean governance and I want to work within the law.”
Hawks spokesperson Captain Llyod Ramovha confirmed a case was referred to their commercial crimes unit from Knysna and is currently at an inquiry stage to assess whether it falls within their mandate.
Myers listed a number of incidents he said he spoke out against, which include R4 million paid to tourism body Knysna and Partners; allegations of the use of the mayoral vehicle for private purposes; interference in the debt collection and credit control policy by the mayor, which included her insisting neighbours of hers be immediately reconnected to services after these services had been cut for non-payment in line with the municipal policies; the questionable removal of reporting and oversight functions directly to the office of the mayor to reduce openness and accountability.
Myers said he reported the matter to the DA and was informed that investigations were ongoing.
“It seems very odd that they would want to remove me without concluding those investigations,” he added.
A DA councillor in the area told the Weekend Argus that speaking out against those in power usually got people axed.
“Ten years ago Councillor Pierre Nel was voted out as speaker at the Oudtshoorn municipality when he brought a motion to have the then mayor removed for maladministration and corruption,” he said.
The ANC’s Victor Molosi, whose motion to vote out the mayor last week fell flat, said they planned to capitalise on the situation in order to retake the municipality.