Cape Town - Battle lines have been drawn before a by-election in Stellenbosch, with the local civic association accusing the DA and the municipality of “Nazism” and corruption.
The ward 22 by-election will be contested on Wednesday between Nuraan van Kerwel of the ANC, Esther Groenewald, representing the DA, and the Stellenbosch Civic Association’s Gordon Reid.
It became vacant when DA councillor Leon de Villiers resigned to focus on his business.
On Tuesday, the civic association accused the DA of corruption at the municipality in an advertising campaign for its election.
The association’s poster - with the sub-heading “Klink dit bekend” (Does this sound familiar) and a drawing of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler - depicts DA councillors engaged in a teleconference.
In a conversation with Premier Helen Zille, a councillor says the municipality could not cancel contracts with two residents who were the DA’s biggest donors. The poster also carries accusations of corruption and defaulting on tax by the municipality.
The municipality would not comment on the allegations, saying it was taking the campaign “in the spirit of a by-election”. Reid claimed that thousands in rates for friends and relatives of DA councillors were written off without a single payment made.
He said the association’s councillors who serve on the DA-run municipality’s council are gagged from raising questions about those issues. It holds three of 43 seats on the council.
“Those are our concerns. Nazism is still very much alive in Stellenbosch. There is a lot of corruption among DA councillors and their friends.
“All those things are true and can be proven without reasonable doubt. We want to see how many honest (residents) we have in this ward. We want to see how they feel about these things,” Reid said.
Stellenbosch mayor Conrad Sidego said they were aware of the campaign and it had appeared in the local newspapers for the last two weeks, but the municipality would not comment on the allegations.
“If they want to they can take up the issues with the council or to court. At this stage we are treating this matter in the spirit of the by-election. We have a good relationship with (the association) on the council and once the election is over, things will be back to normal,” Sidego said.
The DA won the ward by a landslide in the local government election in 2011. De Villiers had received 95 percent of the votes cast, to the ANC’s 1.33 percent, while the civic association did not contest.
Van Kerwel said the election was an opportunity for the ANC to be noticeable in areas where the party was not active. “If elected, I will be in touch with the people in the ward, be more visible.
“Our chances are as good as other candidates. We have done a lot of campaigning in the area,” Van Kerwel said.