DA set sights on ‘ill-disciplined’ Knysna mayor
The DA is preparing to bring further disciplinary charges against Mayor Mark Willemse and fellow councillor Peter Myers.
Attempts to oust Willemse through a motion of no confidence failed in council last Friday.
Trouble surfaced in the municipality in June when former mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies was voted out and Willemse was voted in. A disciplinary process found Willemse guilty of misconduct, only for the decision to be overturned by the DA’s legal federal commission.
“The party is preparing for strong actions against Willemse. I don’t even want to call him the mayor because his actions are clearly of someone who is no longer interested in respecting the processes and procedures of the DA,” said DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.
“The transgression that he committed where he overthrew his colleague and replaced her with himself with the support of the opposition is unforgivable and we had a number of discussions trying to reason with him; clearly he is not interested in respecting the internal processes of the party so we will have to take very strong actions against him.”
Madikizela added: “Willemse does not act like a member of the DA, he is a mayor because of the support of the ANC.
“It will be interesting to see how they form a government. He has to elect executive members of the municipality and we want to see how we will do that because the only person he can elect are ANC people; clearly that person is no longer our mayor.”
The DA needs to take action against “ill-disciplined members even if it means going into opposition and starting from scratch”, he said, in a bid to ensure “we build the majority of the DA with people who respect the party”.
Willemse said he hadn’t received any correspondence on action against him, but expects it as he believes the DA blames him for voting Bouw-Spies out, with his caucus completely alienating him.
“There is no working relationship (with fellow DA councillors). I would have thought we could have been able to internally resolve these issues but there seems to be much larger issues at play with the other seven who are being influenced by someone within the party leadership to take the route they have,” he said.
“The DA knew they did not have the numbers and they were going to do this in spite of that to show me up and to back me into corner, which is rather astounding for a political party to play that hand and give the town to the opposition; I find that rather disgusting behaviour.”
The DA might have a difficult time retaining its seat at the upcoming by-election given the situation within the party, he added.
The DA has a majority with nine of the 21 seats in their control, with the ANC at eight and three smaller parties occupying the remaining four seats.
The ANC would stand to win the municipality if the party managed to win a seat and match the DA’s nine seats in the upcoming by-elections, as well as enter into a coalition with two of the three smaller parties.
“The ANC has already won two by-elections over the past year and that has already created enough momentum to move into the next process of dealing with the next by-election.
“The support and confidence within the ANC has grown and we are quite positive of the upcoming by-election,” said regional spokesperson Ivan Mangaliso.