DA Drakenstein mayor removed amid pay-for-jobs allegations

Drakenstein mayor Conrad Poole.

Drakenstein mayor Conrad Poole.

Published Feb 29, 2024


Some councillors joined forces with opposition parties in the Drakenstein Municipality to ensure the removal of their mayor, Conrad Poole, through a motion of no confidence on Wednesday.

Poole had been investigated following a complaint by the GOOD Party that he was allegedly involved in a pay-for-jobs scheme.

At the time, GOOD Party Drakenstein councillor Keagen Gertse said the DA had failed to be transparent on the allegations against Poole. He claimed members of Poole’s executive were reportedly paying a monthly kickback to the mayor himself. One of the mayoral committee members was accused of spending thousands of rand to fund a private wedding for Poole’s family.

ANC chairperson in the Boland region, Thembekile Mangena, on Wednesday said 34 members voted in favour of the motion, while 26 voted against and two abstained.

“After exercising our oversight role and fulfilling our responsibilities as an effective opposition party, the ANC caucus at Drakenstein Local Municipality submitted a motion of no confidence against the DA’s Poole. Despite our efforts to urge him and the DA to preserve their dignity, Poole chose to disregard our plea to resign following serious corruption allegations. We would like to commend the ANC caucus and other opposition parties for successfully ensuring that this motion passed ...“We are proud of the united multi-effort displayed during this process in the spirit of tackling corruption. We also thank those DA councillors who voted with their conscience. Even DA councillors are disillusioned with the DA. This victory underlines the fact that the DA has lost its pseudo-moral compass and grandeur of good governance,” said Mangena.

Poole declined to comment on Wednesday afternoon.

DA provincial leader Tertuis Simmers said: “Drakenstein is one of the best-run municipalities in the country as confirmed by their back-to-back clean audit reports and many service delivery accolades. The DA assures residents that service delivery will continue unaffected, and since we have a majority in council, a new DA mayor will be elected in due course. In the interim, deputy mayor Gert Combrink will take over the responsibilities of the Office of the Executive Mayor.”

Gertse said the GOOD Party opted to join forces with other opposition parties after losing trust and faith in Poole and his ability to lead the Drakenstein Municipality.

“Moreover, the motion to remove Poole was necessary because the DA’s leadership failed to act. Their claims to always act in the interests of good governance were exposed for the hypocrisy it is. Faced with serious allegations of corrupt and unethical conduct, the DA opted to keep Poole as mayor. GOOD wrote to the speaker of council in August last year about the allegations that Poole was running a pay-for-jobs scheme with councillors paying a kickback for lucrative mayoral committee positions.

“The complaint activated two consecutive investigations, in terms of the councillors Code of Conduct, and prima facie evidence was found of a potential breach of the code and of Poole violating certain rules. In addition to facing a disciplinary hearing, parties held that stronger measurements of accountability should be implemented against Poole,” said Gertse.

Cape Times