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Good party loses bid to avoid fighting three by-elections in George Municipality

Aerial view of George.

George Municipality. Picture: George Municipality/Facebook

Published Jun 9, 2023


Cape Town - The Good Party has lost its Western Cape High Court bid to avoid having to fight three by-elections in the George Municipality next month instead of only two.

This follows the decision handed down on Friday morning by Judge Mokgoatji Dolamo which will see the by-election for Ward 27, Pacaltsdorp, in George go ahead.

Good, which has resigned itself to fighting by-elections in the municipality’s wards 16 and 20, where its former councillors Theresa Jeyi and Neville Louw defected to the DA, approached the High Court for an urgent interdict to prevent a vacancy from being declared.

Advocate Deneys van Reenen, appearing for Good at the High Court, argued that while Hector did indeed write and submit a resignation letter to his party caucus leader on the George council, Donovan Saptoe, he changed his mind four days later.

In the interim Hector appeared at a DA press conference where his defection was announced alongside those of his two former colleagues, while Saptoe had handed the resignation letter over to municipal speaker Sean Snyman (DA).

Van Reenen argued the matter was urgent as the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) must gazette the by-election on Friday, June 9.

Judge Mokgoatji Dolamo said the urgency of the matter meant he would hand down his order on Friday morning and follow it with reasons for his decision later. He said there was no argument about what had happened, just about how to interpret it.

Both the IEC and the MEC for local government, who are also respondents, had given notice that they would abide by the court’s decision.

Good’s application for an interdict was opposed by the municipality, whose lawyer David Borgström SC said the fact that Hector had appeared at two DA press conferences wearing a DA T-shirt before he had a change of mind meant that he had quit Good, but now wanted the court to “interfere”.

Flashback to April when Theresa Jeyi, Neville Louw and Richard Hector said they left the Good party and joined the DA. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Good secretary-general Brett Herron said Hector had made it clear he never intended to resign, but the vacancy was declared by the municipal manager.

Good had hoped to only fight by-elections in the municipality’s wards 16 and 20, where Jeyi andLouw defected to the DA.

The party approached the High Court for an urgent interdict to prevent a vacancy from being declared in Ward 27, Pacaltsdorp.

After the ruling, Good secretary-general Brett Herron said they were ready to defend Hector’s position as the voters’ choice for ward councillor at the upcoming polls.

On Friday Herron said: “It’s clear that the matter has been driven by the DA speaker, while surprisingly, the George Municipality also opted to get involved in this political fight.

“The voters in Pacaltsdorp chose to elect a Good councillor to represent them and Good, and it’s unfortunate that the DA has chosen to abuse their role in government to subvert the choice of the voters.

“It’s the voters who should have the right to choose their councillors, and not the top political bosses who like to impose their preference on the people.”

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