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Plettenberg Bay - The DA won the battle for Bitou’s ward 7 council seat during Wednesday’s by-elections – a victory the party believes could bring an end to recent political turmoil in Plettenberg Bay.

The ANC and the DA went head to head for control of the ward, which includes Hakerville, Kranshoek and KwaNokuthula, after ANC councillor Nolan Stuurman suddenly resigned in the middle of a court battle over a move by local ANC councillors to serve a motion of no confidence in mayor Memory Booysen and other officials.

The DA’s candidate, Bitou speaker Annelise Olivier, was victorious with 251 votes more than her ANC counterpart, Sammy Jansen. The DA, which until yesterday had to rely on a coalition with Cope to govern Bitou, now has the outright majority of council seats.

More than 3 000 out of 4 527 registered voters made their way to the polls yesterday. Olivier received 1 751 votes while 1 500 votes were cast for Jansen.

“This was a very important election for us. Winning it means we can now govern the area more efficiently as we no longer need to rely on a coalition. Although there is a coalition agreement between the DA and Cope, at local level individuals can do what they want,” DA election head for the area Jaco Londt said.

This was especially apparent when deputy mayor and Cope member Adam van Rhymer recently aligned with six ANC councillors to oust Bitou’s leadership by calling for a special council meeting to serve a motion of no confidence in Booysen, among others.

This move was followed by a two-month court battle involving speaker Olivier, who turned to the Western Cape High Court to stop the special council meeting, claiming it was against municipal rules of order.

A counter-application by the ANC councillors and Van Rhymer of Cope claimed the call was in line with municipal regulations.

On August 26, Judge Dennis Davis found Olivier’s application had become moot while the counter-application by Van Rhymer and the ANC councillors failed.

Garden Route Media