Western Cape DA leader Ivan Meyer led a march to Oudtshoorn municipality. Photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The battle for control of the embattled Oudtshoorn municipality is far from over, with the DA resolving to ask the provincial government to place the municipality under administration.

The DA is once again turning to its legal team to try to take control of the municipality which has eluded it since it won a crucial by-election last year.

This is the latest step in a year-long saga which began when a DA-Cope alliance won a majority in a by-election last August, effectively giving them the majority in what had been an ANC-led governing coalition.

Last week a Western Cape High Court judge found that the council had illegally fired 11 DA councillors and a Cope councillor, and had then declared vacancies with the Independent Electoral Commission.

Western Cape DA leader Ivan Meyer, who visited the region last week, said placing the municipality under administration was a last-ditch attempt to stop corruption in the municipality. The decision was sparked by a finding of the auditor general that the council had spent R9.3 million irregularly and wastefully.

“The DA will meet its lawyers today to study the high court judgment by Judge Owen Rogers last week and the implications for Oudtshoorn’s town council.”

Judge Rogers set aside all the councillors’ expulsions and ordered the municipality to pay costs.

Meyer said the town’s Speaker John Stoffels, who had used a number of questionable stratagems to block the DA’s attempts to take control of the council, had received a legal bill for which he was personally liable relating to another High Court order in a previous case.

“Like Mr (Jacob) Zuma, Mr Stoffels must pay back the money, as determined by the courts. He must also reinstate the DA councillors as the court instructed.”

Meyer said there was a new twist in the saga: someone within the municipality had committed fraud by signing a false resignation letter in the name of DA councillor Raymond Wildschut.

Meyer said Wildschut had laid charges at the local police station.

Meyer said the people of Oudtshoorn had suffered enough.

“We will restore democracy in Oudtshoorn and there will be consequences for all the individual ANC councillors and their coalition.”

The Oudtshoorn municipality declined to comment.

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Cape Argus