DA councillor Peter Myers was booted out of his position at a special council meeting on Wednesday following a vote of no-confidence called by the party’s chief whip in Knysna, Levael Davis, and seconded by fellow councillor Cathy Weideman.
According to the party, the vote of no-confidence came after Myers had alienated his DA colleagues in the council and made unsubstantiated allegations against the town’s mayor, Eleanore Bouw-Spies.
Myers said his working relationship with his colleagues had soured after he refused to vote for decisions he viewed as illegal.
“The reason I couldn’t work well with the others is because I am committed to good governance and fighting maladministration and corruption.
"I did not vote with the rest of my colleagues on a number of items in previous council meetings that I considered to be illegal and they got very annoyed with me and said they won’t work with me if I am not going to agree with them.
"I said I couldn’t because we would be breaking the law,” he said.
Continued Myers: “Some of what they did I reported to the police.
"I will not compromise my integrity; I want clean governance and I want to work within the law.”
Hawks spokesperson Captain Llyod Ramovha confirmed a case was referred to their commercial crimes unit from Knysna and is currently at an inquiry stage.
Myers listed a number of incidents where he spoke out against what he interpreted as malpractices which include the unexplained payment of R4 million to Knysna and Partners tourism board, the alleged use of the mayoral vehicle for private purposes, the suspected interference by the mayor in the debt collection and credit control policy after she allegedly ordered the immediate reconnection of services to her defaulting neighbours and the questionable shifting of the reporting and oversight functions to the mayor's office which he viewed as a stumbling block to openness and accountability.
Myers said he reported the matter to the DA and was informed that investigations into that were ongoing.
“Those investigations are ongoing and no decisions have been made; it seems very odd that they would want to remove me without concluding those investigations,” he added.
A DA councillor in the area told the Weekend Argus a culture of speaking out against those in power usually got people axed.
“This is not the first time the DA has had someone removed - 10 years ago councillor Pierre Nel was voted out as Speaker at the Oudtshoorn municipality when he brought a motion to have the then mayor removed for maladministration and corruption and now Peters is out,” he said.
“You cannot run campaigns on the promise of clean governance but when one of your own tries to root out those very incidents they get punished.”