Durban - Another Sutcliffe could soon be walking the corridors of Durban City Hall.
Bruce Sutcliffe, the brother of former city manager, Mike Sutcliffe, is standing as the DA candidate for ward 18 – comprising Pinetown and parts of Westville – in a forthcoming by-election.
But Bruce, 61, whose brother was controversial during his nine years in office, insisted on Wednesday that he was his own man and people should not judge him on his brother’s deeds.
“I think the fact that I am standing for the DA should in fact support my candidacy,” he said.
However, brother Mike will not be supporting him in the by-election.
“I am not at all surprised to hear from the media that Bruce is standing for the DA. I have almost no contact with him. I remain a loyal member of the ANC and I’m not interested in what the DA does,” Mike said.
“Let’s see what transpires in the ward elections. I’ll be supporting the ANC candidate.”
The by-election is due to take place on July 2. It would be one of four by-elections taking place in the eThekwini Municipality.
Bruce said that while his relationship with Mike on a personal basis was their concern, their political views were “extremely divergent”.
“I believe in the DA’s open opportunity and giving people the tools and letting them get on with their lives and to that extent that is where we differ radically,” he said.
The DA informed Bruce of his candidacy on Monday after a rigorous selection process involving numerous candidate interviews by electoral colleges and selection panels.
Bruce has lived with his wife and four children – now including three grandchildren – in Westville for more than 18 years.
His nomination comes after the former ward 18 councillor, Tim Brauteseth, resigned last month after he was elected to represent the DA in parliament.
Bruce, a qualified accountant who has done work for 14 small municipalities across KwaZulu-Natal, helping them put accounting and debt collection systems in place, said he had not yet spoken to his brother – a card carrying ANC member – about his nomination by the DA for the vacant ward.
“I haven’t even brought it up. It has nothing to do with him, I consider this my personal venture and that I need to get involved and not sit on the sidelines,” Bruce said.
“I am not a fence sitter who chirps on the sidelines. I would rather get involved.”
He said that during his brother’s tenure as city boss, when he was perceived as an ANC lackey, they had clashed on numerous issues, including the controversial road name changes.
“We differ dramatically politically and the way things must be done. As far as the road name changes went, everybody moaned about that, including me.”
Bruce said they had since reconnected as brothers.
“We have a good personal relationship now and we intend to keep politics out of it. I believe I am my own person and I will make my own decisions.
“If people want to dwell on other issues like who my brother is and not on the real issues, then that is their own problem. The real problems are things like crime and our ailing infrastructure.”
A by-election has also been called in Durban North (ward 36) after its councillor, Dean Macpherson, also joined the DA in parliament. Two other by-elections will take place in Phoenix (Ward 52) and Chatsworth (Ward 73) after the resignation of two ward councillors from the MF, Bradley Singh and Ronnie Pillay, who defected to the DA.
Brauteseth said Bruce was the perfect candidate for ward 18.
“Being a qualified accountant who has done work for various municipalities, Bruce will bring that experience to eThekwini Council where it will be invaluable,” he said.