DA’s Mossel Bay mayor threatens to resign just days before elections
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THE mayor of the Western Cape’s most ‘well-run’ municipality has accused his DA party of stripping him of his powers.
Harry Levendal of Mossel Bay Municipality has hit out at the DA for removing him from his leadership position within the party and leaving him as mayor - in name only.
In September last year, Levendal was placed on leave until the end of October for medical reasons and the deputy mayor, Dirk Kotze was made acting mayor in his absence. At the time, Levendal was said to be ill and had lost, first, his sister-in-law and shortly thereafter his brother, John Levendal who was the deputy mayor at the Breede Valley Municipality.
Levendal told Weekend Argus he had once again been stripped of his powers having worked hard over the past five years to ensure the municipality remains among the best in the country. A Municipal Financial Stability Index report by the Western Cape government found that Mossel Bay was number one among the province’s top five best performing municipalities.
Levendal has reportedly expressed his dissatisfaction over the treatment he had received from the DA caucus. But sources within the municipality said a decision was taken to place Kotze as acting mayor once again when it emerged that Levendal’s health had deteriorated.
In a statement the ANC in the Western Cape announced that they welcome the “resignation” of Levendal from the DA and as mayor just days before the elections.
“Levendal has proclaimed that he will not be voting for the DA and has exposed the deep rot of racism and bullying within the DA. Levendal completes a list of MEC’s, mayors and councillors who have led an exodus from the collapsing and morally depleted organisation.
“Since 2016 to date, the DA has been unmasked as a racist, chauvinist and morally repugnant party which has failed to live up to its self-imposed standards. Almost all Mayors it has presented as part of its window dressing attempts in 2016 have all left the party and today it’s a shell of its former self with Helen Zille’s return to its leadership echelons marking the death knell on its image,” said the ANC’s Sifiso Mtsweni.
However, the DA’s constituency head in Mossel Bay, Jaco Londt said no resignation had been received from Levendal.
“At all times mayor Levendal was treated with the utmost respect and empathy as he recovered his health after a setback.The caucus stepped up and carried all the extra responsibilities that ensured Mossel Bay is the number one municipality in SA,” he said.
“When it was clear that mayor Levendal couldn’t keep up the pace, the caucus requested him to hand over delegated powers so that service delivery can continue and he can fully recuperate without the pressures of executive office. As we speak he is still the mayor.”
Levendal told Weekend Argus that while he has not officially resigned, he was weighing up his options.