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Cape Town - Former DA mayor of the Matzikama municipality Patric Bok has resigned to join the ANC, citing DA leader and provincial premier Helen Zille as the reason.
Complaining that Zille branded audience members as corrupt, and accused them of stealing state resources at a controversial Saldanha meeting on Thursday, Bok went further to charge that racist practices were still the order of the day in his former party, that services are delivered only to white communities, and that farmworkers “get evicted on a daily basis by those leading the DA”.
At a media briefing to announce the switch on Friday, Bok made reference to the Saldanha meeting at which Zille was booed off the stage, then complained afterwards about the lack of intervention by President Jacob Zuma.
The former mayor of the Matzikama municipality, which includes Vredendal, Klawer, Doringbaai, Strandfontein and Vanrhynsdorp, said Zille had accused the audience of being corrupt before stepping off the stage.
Asked to respond, Zak Mbhele, spokesman for Zille, suggested the ANC supporters in the audience – not necessarily everybody there – were guilty of turning a state-funded event into a party-political rally.
“The ANC made itself guilty of corruption and abuse of taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Mbhele added that it was clear from the start that the event in Saldanha “was planned to become an ANC rally with vehicles having brought people in from other areas and ANC T-shirts being distributed before the function”.
The “event completely ignored the separation between party and state, and the ANC’s use of state funding as its private piggybank must stop”.
Bok was mayor between 2007 and 2011 as a member of the Independent Democrats (ID), when the municipality was run by a DA/ID coalition.
The Matzikama municipality is currently controlled by a coalition between the ANC and two smaller parties.
Bok was flanked by ANC provincial chairman and deputy international relations minister Marius Fransman, and ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile at the media briefing, held at the ANC’s provincial headquarters in the city centre.
He also complained that many councillors were unhappy in the DA, but feared intimidation should they speak out about their grievances.
Welcoming Bok, Fransman said Bok decided to join the ANC without “bargaining for a position”.