Felicity Purchase, former Mayco member for Transport, who now occupies the speaker seat in the City of Cape Town council. Picture: City of Cape Town
Felicity Purchase, former Mayco member for Transport, who now occupies the speaker seat in the City of Cape Town council. Picture: City of Cape Town

LETTER: The attitude of City of Cape Town's Speaker is worrying

By Opinion Time of article published Nov 23, 2021

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I watched the full livestream of the installation and inauguration of the new City of Cape Town Council.

The spirit was largely that of “Congratulations” and “let’s work together”, but also of a “we will watch you...” warning by opposition parties.

One could feel the underlying currents bristling. One could also see the emotion on new faces, such as The Cape Coloured Congress’ Fadiel Adams and GOOD speaker Suzette Little, formerly a DA Mayco member.

Something struck me though. After the Speaker rather industriously took her paperwork from her seated desk to that of Speaker chair, I realised: Here is a woman who is not only smarmy, but of a singular mentality that suggests “the DA is always right… everyone else is always wrong”.

Here is why I say so...

From the beginning of her presiding, she appeared to be quick to label opposition councillors.

  • To one non-DA councillor she said: “Thank you for the protest vote...” (followed by a chuckle),
  • To another non-DA councillor: “Thank you for the insubordination” (followed by a chuckle)
  • To yet another non-DA councillor. “I will deal with you later” (with a stern look, over her specs)
  • To another councillor (nominated for a senior position): “You have two votes. Well done!” (broad grin on her face).

The role of speaker must be an attitude and conduct of fairness, both in terms of perception and in reality.

It then hit me. This labelling of people is inherent to her mindset and thinking. She does this in emails too. Certainly in communications with myself, she has done this.

If you ask tough questions to a councillor, and are persistent about it, then Purchase says you are “harrassing” the councillor. I'm glad I watched the full livestreaming.

Africa Restoration Alliance (ARA), Credible Alternative 1st (CA1st) Movement, CCC, Grant Haskins (African Christian Democratic Party), GOOD, Al Jama-ah, I know that you will be holding the DA City fully accountable from the mayor down. The marginalised people especially expect this of you.

* Owen Simons, Foreshore.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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