I'm not a political whore, says DA councillor

A Democratic Alliance councillor from a small town spent Tuesday night wondering if any cars or bundles of money would come his way if he agreed to cross the floor.

This is what happened the last time local government councillors were given the opportunity to choose new political homes two years ago.

Boeta Josephus, from the town of Porterville in the Western Cape, said on Tuesday that he was offered both the mayorship and deputy mayorship of Porterville by two different political parties - but chose to remain where he was.

He said his phone started ringing on Tuesday morning, with opposition councillors testing the waters. "People are already calling me, but I think the offers will only start tomorrow. I've told them all to call me back. I'm curious to know what the offers are."

But one thing is certain: Josephus is loyal to the DA.

"Ek het dit alreeds gesê and ek sal dit weer sê, ek is nie 'n politieke hoer nie (I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a political whore)," he said.

He is just one example of what DA spokesperson Helen Zille calls "the trading of positions and financial incentives" in the frenzy of recruitment that started at midnight.

She said many politicians were seeking the highest bidder.

"Parties are offering things like certain positions on their lists and making all sorts of promises - for instance, guaranteeing that councillors will keep their places on certain committees and that their positions will be safe after the next local government election."

The DA had identified particular councillors who they would like to see joining the party, but were not lobbying councillors in general, she said.

African National Congress spokesperson Steyn Speed said local party structures had been given a mandate to "engage" with any councillor from another party who expressed an interest in joining the ANC.

Asked if this gave ANC councillors free rein to offer incentives for crossing the floor, he said: "It would depend on what those incentives are. Our basic principle is that we want people to join who see the organisation as a worthwhile vehicle for pursuing particular political objectives, as opposed to personal or material objectives."

The constitutional floor-crossing window between September 1 and 15 allows municipal councillors to cross over to another party without losing their seat.

Councillors can cross only once - and only if they are part of a group of councillors constituting at least 10 percent of the total number of seats held by the party in the council.


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