DA constituency head for Kannaland, Gillion Bosman, says the ANC in the Western Cape made a sensible decision to cut ties with newly elected mayor Jeffrey Donson and the Independent Civic Organisation of SA (Icosa).
This follows public outrage over Donson’s re-election into the mayoral seat despite his 2008 statutory rape conviction.
The ANC in the province had its eyes set on gaining power in about 15 municipalities following the local government elections in November. However, the decision to team up with Icosa – a dominating party in Kannaland – received tremendous backlash as the ANC had always emphasised their stance against gender-based violence.
ANC provincial spokesperson in the Western Cape Sifiso Mtsweni said this week the party’s negotiating team had been mandated to process the decision of the provincial leadership to withdraw from the provincial office programme for the coalition.
Mtsweni said the provincial coordinator visited Kannaland on Tuesday to effect this decision. “The ANC Speaker of the Municipality is being withdrawn, and we will assume opposition in the municipality,” he said.
In reaction to the party’s withdrawal from the municipality, Bosman said: “As the DA in Kannaland, we are glad that the ANC has finally made the sensible decision and shown respect to the many victims of GBV. We look forward to them enacting this decision in council.”
Despite growing calls from child activists groups and NGO’s, Donson refused to vacate his seat and made this announcement last week Tuesday.
In response to Independent Media, Donson said: “I said too much, you wrote too much. It happened years ago.”
Icosa showed support for the mayor and pointed the finger at the media for creating a “negative narrative” about the Donson rape conviction saga.
“The sudden negative media coverage is a well-orchestrated agenda to diminish the good work done by Icosa for the community of Kannaland and to impugn the constitutional rights of the community to elect public officials of their choice.
“He was convicted of statutory rape and indecent assault in 2008 of a minor who lived as a life partner of a 50- year-old man for some time, and as such, had no knowledge of her age at the time and assumed that she was of legal age,” said Icosa provincial chairperson David Kamfer.
Donson was convicted of statutory rape and indecent assault while Kannaland mayor in 2008. His victim was 15-years-old. After lodging an appeal in the Western Cape High Court, Donson’s five-year sentence was reduced to a wholly suspended term of imprisonment, correctional supervision, a R20 000 fine, and a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.