JP Smith, Angus McKenzie eye deputy mayor role
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CAPE TOWN - ONE of the longest-serving council members JP Smith is being considered to be the next Cape Town deputy mayor, should his party retain the municipality.
He is expected to go up against current Bonteheuwel ward councillor and sub-council five chairperson Angus McKenzie.
“I am not closing the book on it,” said Smith when asked if he was considering the position.
“I am pondering my options and I cannot say much about the deputy mayor position as applications are yet to be opened. My focus now is getting the party ready for elections and make sure that we do well.”
He is also a strong ally of current mayor Dan Plato.
McKenzie did not mince his words, admitting that he has ambitions of being Geordin Hill-Lewis’ second in command.
“My first priority is Bonteheuwel and I will make an announcement about my ward councillor candidacy. People have seen the change I have brought in Bonteheuwel and I believe I can bring the same change in the municipality. I will avail myself and subject myself to party process,” he said.
The DA is tipped to retain the metro but not without a strong fight from the Good party, ANC, EFF, Cape Coloured Congress and the Patriotic Alliance.
Smith joined the council in 2000 and for many years was dubbed the unofficial mayor of Cape Town.
The process of the DA requires members to first apply through the party after local government elections are completed.
The party’s selection panel will then suggest a name to the party’s caucus, who will then vote for that person.
Smith is said to be in Helen Zille’s good books, while party leader John Steenhuisen does not see eye to eye with him.
He still has the qualification scandal hanging over his head but that did not prevent the party from including him on their list.
Xanthea Limberg also made the cut alongside the embattled councillor Nora Grose who is accused of misappropriating funds meant to assist with food relief.
When asked when the party would release its findings in the investigation of the qualification scandals, Steenhuisen said: “When the investigations are completed.”
This is despite the party announcing a while ago that the investigations’ judgement was being compiled.
Party insiders said the party was facing a daunting challenge of finding balance should it win Cape Town again.
“What we cannot afford is having a white speaker, white mayor and a white deputy mayor,” said one party member.
When asked about who will be his deputy should the DA win the elections, Hill-Lewis said that was a discussion for after the elections.
“I have thought about that but we will discuss it after the elections. I have no control over who becomes deputy as the party has its processes that should be followed.”
Current deputy mayor Ian Nielson is also believed to not be interested in serving in the same position, should he come back after the elections.