Cape Town - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has read his councillors in Cape Town the riot act and effectively gagged them from speaking to the media or posting on social media - especially about mayor Patricia de Lille.
In a letter dated April 26, Maimane wrote that he has become increasingly concerned and frustrated at the “frankly amateurish” way in which the members of the City of Cape Town caucus are conducting themselves.
“While the developments surrounding the mayor are understandably unsettling and provoke emotional responses, this cannot stand in the way of your duty to run the City effectively and to deliver proper services to the people of Cape Town.
“Some members of the caucus seem to think that they are entitled to ventilate their opinion openly - to the media and/or via social media - on matters that relate to caucus discussions or on how the City is being administered.
“There is now a bizarre situation where the party’s political authority for Cape Town (the metro region) has openly rejected the City’s budget. Whatever the merits of this argument, this move has left voters completely mystified, and there has been no attempt by the City or the DA councillors to enlighten the ratepayers,” he said, taking a veiled swipe at Grant Twigg (metro chairperson) for issuing a media statement in which he slammed the R49billion budget and high tariff increases.
“I have therefore decided that this situation needs to be cauterised immediately. As from today (April 26), no councillor may communicate with the media or post on social media without express authority of Thomas Walters (deputy chairperson of the federal council), or a person authorised by him. If any person, directly or indirectly, communicates anything without authority, disciplinary action will be taken against him or her,” Maimane wrote.
He said a team would be established to interact with the caucus executive.
“(This) is to manage the way in which the caucus processes decisions, and to assist in building the caucus into a unified team. While I accept that factions are in some senses inevitable in political organisations, these must never be allowed to paralyse or hinder service to the voters. I intend to work with you to fix whatever it is that is not working,” he said.
Maimane will meet with the councillors at a light dinner today to allow them to express their views.
Deputy caucus leader JP Smith confirmed the veracity of the letter and said it was sent to all councillors.
Maimane’s spokesperson Portia Adams said the letter was authentic.
“The leader is fed-up, his patience has worn thin. The residents of Cape Town are rightly annoyed and we need to get the City working again and focus on residents’ issues,” she said.
Meanwhile, two DA Western Cape mayors and a municipal Speaker’s fate will be sealed this weekend when the party’s top brass meet to clean up its house before the 2019 elections.
De Lille, Matzikama mayor Rhenda Stephan and Stellenbosch Municipality Speaker Donovan Joubert are all facing the axe at the DA’s federal executive meeting in Johannesburg this weekend.