DA bites a big chunk out of the Western Cape
By Murray Williams
The DA is celebrating its capture of Stellenbosch, the third-largest municipality in the Western Cape - further cementing its power as governor of the province.
DA councillor Cyril Jooste, 54, from Jamestown, was voted in as mayor of Stellenbosch on Tuesday after a fragile ANC-led coalition collapsed.
A single independent councillor, Myra Linders, had held the balance between the two camps in the 37-seater chamber.
The change in power came after ANC factions in the council supported a recent DA call for a full forensic investigation of council business.
Then, 10 days ago, 19 councillors signed a document calling for the removal of mayor Patrick Swartz, of the Khayamandi Community Alliance, and deputy mayor Cameron Mcako and speaker Gordon Pheiffer, both of the ANC.
This was put to the vote on Tuesday and the DA triumphed - after Linders switched allegiance from the ANC to the DA.
Swartz packed his bags in the mayoral parlour in Plein Street on Tuesday, making way for Jooste on Wednesday morning.
"My immediate priorities are to have a full forensic investigation going, with the assistance of the provincial MEC for Local Government, Anton Bredell," Jooste said. "There have been serious allegations of fraud against the institution."
The DA's taking of power comes after two years of ANC rule. The ANC had unseated then-mayor Lauretta Maree of the DA.
Jooste has been a councillor for almost three-and-a-half years. His ascension to Stellenbosch's highest office brings the DA's control of municipalities in the province to 15 out of 30 - comprising one metro (Cape Town), five district municipalities and 24 regional municipalities.
The ANC controls the second largest municipality in the province, Drakenstein.