The Herald (South Africa)

Adams joins by-election fight under COPE banner

Former councillor fired from DA to contest for same Ward 1 seat

- Nomazima Nkosi nkosino@tisoblacks­

THE battle for the Ward 1 councillor’s seat took an intriguing twist yesterday when COPE revealed it was entering the fray – with its candidate none other than the man the DA effectivel­y fired from the job. Former DA councillor Rashied Adams is now contesting the March 7 by-election but under the banner of a different party, which is also part of Nelson Mandela Bay’s ruling coalition.

Adams – who claims that “people in their numbers told me they want me back” – was fired from the DA in December after failing to pay a compulsory tithe.

“I’ve always been committed to the coalition government – I’ve never had a problem with the DA and the problem was with a few individual­s in the party,” Adams said.

Adams, 26 – who joined COPE last week – said he had initial intentions of contesting the ward as an independen­t candidate, but then had joined up with his new party.

“If I’m elected, it will serve twofold. I will be a member of the coalition government again and I will belong to a party which can hold me to account as opposed to running as an independen­t where I can’t be held to account,” he said.

Adams was the DA’s youngest councillor when he was elected at the age of just 24 in August 2016.

Asked if he thought ward residents would want him back, Adams said he wanted to assure voters that his possible return to the coalition government was not about revenge.

He said it was also not about supporting a motion of no confidence against mayor Athol Trollip, with whom he fell out last year.

“When I’m elected I will continue to serve the coalition government and it will remain intact, doing so under the banner of COPE,” Adams said.

Asked if he thought he had done a good job as the Ward 1 councillor prior to being sacked, Adams said he believed he had done a fairly good job.

“It’s evident by the masses of people in the ward who said they want me back in the ward, [for me] to renew my mandate.

“People in their numbers told me they want me back – they want me in the ward as their councillor . . . I was overwhelme­d by that support,” he said.

Adams said if he was elected he was in a unique position as he would no longer be in a DA caucus, which meant he would be able to hold the DA and its executive to account for lack of service delivery.

“As a DA member I was unable to speak out against a mayoral committee member of a certain department for not responding to issues reported to them because that would be political suicide. So now I’ll be in a position to ensure service delivery is rolled out,” he said.

COPE acting regional secretary Siyasanga Sijadu said announcing Adams as its candidate for the Ward 1 by-election was a move to strengthen its position within the Bay.

“Mr Adams is a competent and hardworkin­g leader who has proven himself. As the former councillor for the ward, he is the stronger candidate in this election with a solid track record of selfless leadership,” Sijadu said.

Nelson Mandela Bay IEC supervisor Crosby Bacela confirmed that the ANC, DA, EFF and COPE were contesting the by-election and had submitted their entries by the closing date.

“The by-election is on and all that’s left now is the signing of the code of conduct by the parties’ candidates,” Bacela said.


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