DA in-fight­ing could cost them Knysna

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TSHEGO LEPULE

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.

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