Councillor Peter Lobese of the Active United Front (AUF) in Bitou
Councillor Peter Lobese of the Active United Front (AUF) in Bitou

Working together in Bitou municipality, DA and ANC get rid of mayor

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Despite being political rivals, the ANC and the DA are happy to work together for “strategic reasons,” after the two parties united in Bitou Municipality on Friday to oust mayor Peter Lobese of the Active United Front (AUF) through a no-confidence motion.

According to DA Bitou Caucus leader Bill Nel, starting this morning (Monday) the DA and the ANC would be holding meetings to discuss the parameters of their interaction with each other.

Nel said: “The ANC, by virtue of the Speaker’s casting vote, could have passed the motion of no confidence without the support of the DA, but the two parties agreed that to salvage the damage done and despite political differences, they will have to vote together to pass crucial motions on a variety of matters.

“The parties are at one that the chaos in the allocation of housing and the completion of housing projects must be addressed urgently.”

Bitou council ANC chief whip Phakie Mbali said: “The ANC elected Lobese as mayor in 2016 and is now happy that it has corrected its decision after his failure to provide leadership over his administration as highlighted by the auditor-general and other bodies of government. Democracy is a winner, the people are the winners.”

Lobese has been mayor since a close run local government election in 2016 gave the DA 49% of the votes which translated into six seats on the council and the ANC 41% of the votes but also six seats.

Lobese’s AUF had 5% and initially formed a coalition with the ANC to govern Bitou and was rewarded with the mayor’s post. In 2017, the AUF and the ANC fell out and Lobese formed a new coalition with the DA, but this only lasted a year before the AUF and the ANC were working together again.

At the start of April, the ANC councillors submitted a notice of a motion of no confidence in Lobese and said their reasons were a failure of leadership, the disruption of services and community protests.

Lobese said: “These allegations are baseless and unfounded.”

AUF chairperson Lindiceba Nkentsha said: “The AUF is not surprised by the ANC and DA’s move to remove Peter Lobese as mayor of Bitou. Since 2016, they have been bullying Lobese to vacate the position by creating and instigating instability into the town, which resulted in riots and closure of the N2.”

DA East Region chairperson Tertuis Simmers said: “There will only be co-operation at strategic level, both parties remain political opponents.”

Good party secretary general Brett Herron said: “The Garden Route District is the DA's cash cow. Being excluded from the government in Bitou was more worrying to them than co-operating with the ANC.”

Cape Argus

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