Cope bat­tles hold key to al­liances

Cape Times - - News - Quin­ton Mtyala quin­[email protected]

Po­lit­i­cal Writer COPE’s in­ter­nal fights could have an im­pact on the fate of two hung coun­cils in the West­ern Cape, as party lead­ers battle over whether to form coali­tions with the DA or the ANC.

The party’s na­tional spokesman, Phillip Dex­ter, in­sists a deal is still be­ing ne­go­ti­ated with the DA to form coali­tions for con­trol of the Bi­tou and Laings­burg mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

This comes as the ANC has an­nounced a coali­tion with the PAC to run the Ceder­berg ( Clan­william/ Citrus­dal) mu­nic­i­pal­ity – one of 13 which ended with no out­right win­ner af­ter last week’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

But a spokesman for the Mb­haz­ima Shilowa fac­tion of the party, Sipho Ng­wema, said elected of­fi­cials would rather work with the ANC which would pri­ori­tise the poor.

Ng­wema claimed that “most” of Cope’s struc­tures were unan­i­mous in their choice for a “time-tested part­ner” that would pri­ori­tise the poor.

“We have, there­fore, ad­vised our coun­cil­lors to side with the ANC un­der the cir­cum­stances. We will con­stantly mon­i­tor this re­la­tion­ship and en­sure that it is to the ben­e­fit of the peo­ple,” said Ng­wema.

On Wed­nes­day Cope’s congress na­tional com­mit­tee (CNC) agreed in prin­ci­ple to co­op­er­ate with the DA and could also form part of gov­ern­ing coali­tions in Hesse­qua, Matzikama and Witzen­berg.

This came on the heels of the ANC’s an­nounc­ing it had con­cluded deals with the In­de­pen­dent Civics Or­gan­i­sa­tion of SA (Icosa) and an in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor to form coali­tions in Kan­na­land, Oudt­shoorn and Cape Agul­has.

The PAC’s sole coun­cil­lor in Ceder­berg, Ben­jamin Zass, who un­til two months ago was a mem­ber of the ID, will be­come mayor while other ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions will go to the ANC in­clud­ing deputy mayor (Jonas White) and Speaker.

Zass, asked about his po­lit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion from the ID to the PAC, said he left Pa­tri­cia de Lille’s for­mer po­lit­i­cal home out of anger at her “be­trayal” of or­di­nary mem­bers.

“Pa­tri­cia de Lille mis­led us. We didn’t give her a man­date to fold the ID into the DA but rather to co-op­er­ate with them. But in­stead she went on TV wear­ing a blue jacket and that’s when I with­drew my­self from the party,” said Zass.

ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Songezo Mjongile said the deal meant that the ANC and the PAC would have a one-seat ma­jor­ity on the 11-seat coun­cil.

He said the coali­tion agree­ment be­tween the two par­ties pre­sented them with the op­por­tu­nity to ef­fect real change to the lives of peo­ple in the mostly ru­ral com­mu­nity which also in­cludes towns like Graafwa­ter and Elands Bay.

“We re­ally have to make a dif­fer­ence to the lives of our peo­ple in the next five years,” said Mjongile.

PAC pro­vin­cial leader An­war Adams said the party would not “desert or be­tray vot­ers” but would be there to bring ser­vice de­liv­ery to the peo­ple of the Ceder­berg.

Mjongile in­sisted Jef­frey Don­son had served his pun­ish­ment and that he had not been cho­sen by the ANC when he was quizzed about the con­victed statu­tory rapist who could be elected as the new mayor of Kan­na­land.

“We didn’t choose Mr Don­son, he was cho­sen by Icosa. He is not a mayor of the ANC, he is not a coun­cil­lor of the ANC.”

In­stead, Mjongile tried to turn the ta­bles on the press, ask­ing: “Who are we to judge a man who has re­deemed him­self in the eyes of his com­mu­nity?”

Pic­ture: DAVID RITCHIE

IT’S A DEAL: An­war Adams, left, the PAC’s pro­vin­cial chair­man, and Songezo Mjongile, the ANC’s pro­vin­cial chair­man.

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