Plato battles mayco mayhem
DA infighting puts brakes on selection of city executive
CAPE TOWN’S mayor Dan Plato is expected to unveil his mayoral committee today amid infighting and squabbling among factions within the caucus, which has delayed the selection.
The announcement comes as the DA is said to be under pressure to reward a faction led by councillor and former mayoral committee member for safety and social services JP Smith with seats on the new committee.
“We can expect this to include many of those who actively participated in the campaign to undermine former mayor Patricia De Lille. Patronage and positions will be key to securing the loyalty Plato needs to stay in office. Many others will be vying for his job over the next few months,” said political commentator Simon Grindrod.
DA insiders said tussles had erupted within the caucus over “positions promised” to those seen as instrumental in driving De Lille out.
There has been “push-back” against some of the names proposed by Plato to be included on the committee, particularly from Smith.
A source said Plato wanted former New National Party loyalists to be given positions. These included Ward 69 (Noordhoek-Fish Hoek-Sun Valley-Kommetjie) councillor Felicity Purchase, former utility services committee member Clive Justus and DA MP and former mayoral committee member James Vos.
The previous 10-member committee, which had been charged by De Lille with driving projects that would rid Cape Town of the “remnants of apartheid planning”, was dissolved after her resignation on October 31.
The council was rocked by a further resignation of eight DA councillors within a week, including chief whip Shaun August, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron, Siya Mamkeli and Suzette Little.
Sources said members who were likely to retain seats in the new committee included Smith, Xanthea Limberg, and Ian Nielson, who once held the finance portfolio before being moved to the position of deputy mayor.
All the previous committee members had community liaison officers attached to their offices to ensure that the council was in touch with communities, but it was not clear whether Plato would retain them.
Other changes likely to be made included separating some portfolios, such as social services from safety and security.
Portfolios that are critical to addressing the needs of residents include housing, which fell under Herron, who resigned citing frustration over attempts to block spatial integration through providing affordable housing, informal settlements and sanitation as well as safety and security.
This week opposition party councillors voiced disappointment over the failure to elect a chief whip, with the ANC charging that Plato’s preferred candidate was in defiance of the DA federal executive choice.
“The position of chief whip is a headache for the new mayor. Sub-council chairpersons could potentially also be a nightmare,” said another source.
It has been alleged that a councillor
lodged an appeal after she was overlooked for the position because Plato preferred another candidate, defying Smith and the DA federal executive.
Cope councillor Farouk Cassiem urged the election to be finalised as soon as possible. He also hoped to see the new committee made up of members who would be capable and passionate about addressing the needs of the people.
“The mood of the people has changed. They have become restive. The council needs a well functioning mayco,” Cassiem said.
Plato’s second stint as caretaker mayor, having previously been parachuted in when Helen Zille became premier in 2009, is set to be difficult as he tries to unite the divided caucus.
Grindrod said to appoint Plato for the second time as mayor was “a missed opportunity”.
“To suggest Plato represents a ‘new dawn’ for Cape Town is not credible. He has been deeply involved in the factionalism within the DA for years, both at city and province level. He brings with him a lot of baggage, his appointment as mayor was not well received by many in the city caucus who believed he has long passed his expiry date.” |
REVELLERS from across the city participated in the Cape Town leg of the Color Run at the Sea Point Promenade yesterday. Agency (ANA)|African News