Nielson is Cape's new deputy mayor

By Anel Lewis

DA councillor Ian Neilson has been elected the fourth deputy mayor of the City of Cape Town since an alliance the party led took control of the council three years ago.

He replaces ousted African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) councillor Grant Haskin who served as deputy mayor since October 2007.

The ACDP was one of the smaller parties working with the DA in the multiparty coalition formed in 2006.

Haskin said on Wednesday the ACDP would reconsider its position as a coalition partner in the DA-led city council.

"We are fully prepared to go into opposition."

Recent allegations that the ACDP had colluded with the ANC during the election campaign and voted against DA leader Helen Zille in the vote for premier soured relations between the party and the ACDP.

Haskin was ousted on Wednesday after the council voted in favour of the DA's motion to remove him from the deputy mayor's position.

The ACDP had hoped the DA would retract its motion. But, despite talks with Mayor Dan Plato this week, the motion to remove Haskin was proposed at the start of Wednesday afternoon's council meeting.

Vincent Bergh, ACDP, said the DA's motion was a breach of the contract it had with the ACDP and other parties to form the multiparty government.

In terms of this agreement, the ACDP was to get the deputy mayoral position and two sub-council chair positions.

Peter Gabriel, ANC, said the axing of Haskin was a clear indication that the DA-led multiparty government, formed in 2006 when no party won a clear majority in the local government elections, was a "marriage of convenience".

"Now that it (the DA) has the province, it thinks that it can dispense with its partners. It is serving divorce papers on the ACDP."

Xolani Sotashe, ANC, said the DA was characterised by the "spirit of Satanism", while former DA mayor Helen Zille used smaller parties "like condoms". He said the DA's about-turn on the ACDP was "anarchy of the highest order".

But the DA refused to join the heated debate about its decision to replace Haskin.

Mayoral committee member for corporate services, Belinda Walker, who herself once wore the deputy mayoral chain, said the DA would continue to view the ACDP as a multiparty government partner.

Former multiparty government partner, the United Party, voted against the motion to remove Haskin. The Freedom Front Plus, formerly part of the multiparty government when Speaker Dirk Smit was still a member of the party, refused to vote. The ANC and other opposition parties also abstained.

Appearing resigned, Haskin gathered his papers from his seat with the mayoral committee and moved two rows back, to join his fellow councillors, as Smit called for nominations for the new deputy mayor.

The ACDP nominated Haskin for the position, while the DA and the ID nominated Neilson. Neilson got 101 votes, securing his position as the new deputy mayor, while the ANC's nominee, Belinda Landingwe, got 61 votes. Haskin secured only nine votes.

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