ACDP and Zille to battle it out for deputy

By Lindsay Dentlinger

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) national leadership was due to meet Mayor Helen Zille on Wednesday to iron out a disagreement over its successor to current Deputy Mayor Charlotte Williams.

Zille has rejected the ACDP's Grant Haskin, currently a mayoral committee member, to take over the job because he is a white male, preferring that the caucus nominate someone reflecting the diversity of its members.

The outcome of Wednesday's meeting could also determine the other positions the ACDP - the third biggest coalition party with seven seats - will hold in council.

Haskin did not want to comment until after the meeting but said the rejection had had a negative emotional effect on him.

"We've never prescribed to the other parties who to choose. We have always accepted that each party has put forward their best candidates.

"The criteria for the ACDP have always been that candidates are chosen based on capacity, expertise and merit and not gender, colour and age," said Haskin.

He denied that the ACDP had gone behind the coalition's back to get the deputy mayor seat back, saying it had been agreed to by the multiparty forum (of which the Independent Democracts is not part) and the ACDP later approached the ID, which currently holds the seat to obtain its permission too before approaching the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Meanwhile, Williams has rubbished reports that she has been forced to give up her position by her party, the ID, saying the intention to resign her seat soon was entirely voluntary.

"If I was being pushed out, would I look this happy?

"I'm simply not an office person. I want to be out in the community, that's what I love doing."

Stressing that she had not yet resigned her post, Williams said she had been contemplating giving up her post for some time.

Williams has held the post for eight months, after the ID joined the DA coalition in January, and the ACDP agreed to give up the deputy mayor post, which it had held until then.

The Cape Argus has reliably learnt that the ID is prepared to forego the deputy mayoral post in exchange for more sub-council chairs, while retaining the Mayco seat currently held by the ID's city caucus leader Simon Grindrod.

Grindrod has declined to comment.

Williams confirmed the ID had approached her to take over the chair of the Athlone sub-council previously held by a former ID whip, Jameelah Daniels, who since the floor crossing has joined political newcomer the National People's Party.

Williams said she believed she was more suited to a sub-council post as it allowed her more interaction with local communities.

She previously held the sub-council chair in Mitchells Plain for four years while a member of the New National Party (NPP).

"You know the issues because you are there. It would mean that I could be back in the community again," she said.

The ACDP on the other hand already holds two sub-council chairs but it is yet to be seen whether it will be prepared to exchange its Mayco seat for that of the deputy mayor, or whether it wants both.

Council speaker Dirk Smit said he had not received notice of Williams's resignation, and a new deputy mayor could only be elected if she did so, or by a vote of no confidence or a council motion to remove and replace her. This did not happen on Friday as expected.

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