Defiant mayor awaits DA charges

Knysna mayor Mark Willemse

Knysna mayor Mark Willemse

Published Jun 18, 2018


Knysna mayor Mark Willemse has again defied the DA, saying he remains in his position and is focusing on “getting on with his work”.

This followed reports that the DA leadership was preparing to formulate charges against him.

Willemse has been facing pressure from the DA to step down since his election into office, following the ousting of former mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies after a motion of no confidence tabled by the ANC.

Western Cape DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela called the situation “untenable” following Willemse’s election and visited Knysna with provincial chairperson Anton Bredell for the second time on Friday.

He gave Willemse until 4pm that day to resign.

Willemse told the Cape Times that he would consult with his legal counsel once he had received the formal charges from the DA Federal Executive.

“I was hoping for wider discussion but at this stage the only discussion occurred with the caucus, on which I cannot comment.

“The leadership is causing a lot of uncertainty and I have been elected as mayor and would like to carry on, do the work and set up a mayoral committee,” he said.

He said he had given instruction to the municipal manager that his directorate must continue with their work.

Willemse along with George mayor, Melvin Naik, had uncertain futures as they faced charges that relate to contravening section 2.5 of the DA’s federal constitution which relates to the party’s code of conduct.

They joined Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille who the DA has been targeting.

Knysna ANC Chief Whip Tati Gombo said she was disappointed with how the DA leadership was handling the matter.

“They are ignoring the real issues happening in Knysna and focusing on a power struggle. They are sending a clear message to their supporters in Knysna. The people must stand and up and tell Madikizela this is not about Cape Town but our town Knysna,” she said.

The opposition ANC had tabled the motion against Bouw-Spies citing her failure to perform her duties to ensure service delivery.

Madikizela said the ANC had voted for Willemse to divide the DA in Knysna and said any DA member coming to power because of the ANC needed “serious examination”.

This came in the same week the George mayor made homophobic comments about an upcoming performance by the Boston Gay Men’s Choir. Naik said last week that the performance did not “carry his support”, despite it having been organised by his municipality.

LGBTI organisation the Triangle Project dismissed the mayor’s utterances and encouraged people to raise money for charity and go to the show. Madikizela called Naik’s comments “unacceptable” and having met the George mayor on Saturday to discuss the matter, said the party’s federal executive committee would decide what disciplinary measures to take against him.

Attempts to reach Madikizela and Naik for

comment by deadline yesterday were unsuccessful.

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