Bonginkosi Madikizela File photo: INLSA
The Knysna Ratepayers Association (KRA) has thrown its weight behind newly elected Mayor Mark Willemse following reports the DA would begin disciplinary steps to axe him.

The association warned that the Eden District town’s residents would severely punish the party at the polls. Willemse was elected last week after the ousting of Eleanore Bouw-Spies in a motion of no confidence tabled by the ANC.

The opposition ANC had cited her failure to perform her duties to ensure service delivery. It then nominated and voted for Willemse as Knysna’s new mayor.

KRA chairperson Chris Gould said: “Willemse’s election by the opposition was unprecedented, as it kept the mayorship with the DA which doesn't have a legal basis to remove him and is wasting its time.

"Mr (Bonginkosi) Madikizela does not fully understand the situation, he was probably misinformed and our view is that the people of Knysna will severely punish the DA at the polls if they remove our mayor.”

Knysna residents would welcome a chance to address Madikizela, as previous complaints to DA leaders went unheard, he said.

Madikizela and DA provincial chairperson Anton Bredell visited Eden District at the weekend and addressed the party’s Knysna caucus. He likened the situation to a coup and gave Willemse a chance to step down, which he defied.

Mark Willemse

Willemse said he had not received any formal instruction from the DA, but was under severe pressure from the leadership to step down.

“This situation could have been handled differently and to the benefit of the people of Knysna. I’ve been heartened by the public's backing and remain committed to the best interests of the citizens of Knysna."

Madikizela said he would visit the district to address the situation. “We've decided not to begin formal disciplinary procedures and hope to resolve it amicably by giving him (Willemse) another opportunity to step down.

"Any DA member coming to power because of the ANC needs serious examination, and anyone believing they did it in the best interests of Knysna is naive."

He said this also related toGeorge Mayor Melvin Naik, who had made “unacceptable” comments on the Boston Gay Choir’s concert in the town next week. Naik told Heart BeatFM he had heard the event was taking place under the banner of the George Municipality, but his “Christian convictions and belief system” meant it did not have his approval.

Abel Kiwit, African Independent Congress leader in George, said after a “smear campaign against Naik” which fell flat at the DA's federal legal council, some DA councillors and the opposition were planning to table a no confidence vote in him.