By Lindsay Dentlinger
Jostling for the City of Cape Town's mayoral chain is set to come to a head on Monday with the stakes raised as the DA also prepares to take over the post of deputy mayor, currently held by the ACDP.
Nominations for the city's top political job were to close at noon today, and by last night at least five candidates were certain they had the backing of their colleagues for the job. They are mayco members Ian Neilson, Dan Plato and Marian Nieuwoudt, Mitchells Plain councillor Grant Pascoe and Fish Hoek councillor Nicky Holderness.
Two early contenders, mayco members Belinda Walker and Shehaam Sims, have declined nominations.
But while the city's DA caucus prepares to fight it out for the top jobs, the ACDP is crying foul as Premier Helen Zille toys with booting the party out of the city's multi-party government, citing "breaches of trust".
The deputy mayor's post, currently held by Grant Haskin, has been allocated to the ACDP in the multi-party agreement, with two sub-council chairs.
But the DA now wants the post for itself, with Zille saying a DA representative committed to governance should become the new deputy mayor.
Her spokesperson, Robert Macdonald, said that for the DA to be as effective as possible politically, it had to gain control over the deputy mayor seat.
The DA caucus has always been unhappy at the number of positions offered to the ACDP in exchange for its weight in the coalition.
The ACDP's seven-member city caucus was to hold an urgent meeting today to discuss the issue, with its provincial executive set to meet tonight.
At the centre of the storm is the ACDP's provincial leader Pauline Cupido, who Zille is accusing of colluding with other parties during the elections to form a united front against the DA.
Zille is also upset that Cupido did not vote for her to become premier last week.
Cupido could not be reached for comment, but Haskin said he felt the city caucus was being unfairly "punished".
He was not prepared to face a vote of no-confidence at Wednesday's council meeting, when the installation of a new mayor is set to take place.
"The ball is in the DA's court to substantiate and clarify the trust breakdown. It is not a caucus trust issue. We are taking it extremely seriously and are not going to be the fall guys," said Haskin.
The ACDP had earlier pledged to vote for any candidate the DA proposed to become Zille's successor as mayor.
Zille said the future of the ACDP in the city coalition would be discussed after Wednesday's council meeting.