South Africa

Cape Town Politics

Brett Herron becomes the ninth councillor to quit the DA as mayor-elect Dan Plato is sworn in as councillor

Archive Photo: Cape Town Mayco Member Brett Herron. Photo by Ashraf Hendricks

Brett Herron, one of former city of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s allies, has quit the Democratic Alliance barely an hour after incoming mayor Dan Plato was sworn in as a city councillor.

Brett Herron, councillor in the city of Cape Town, announced his resignation from the DA on Thursday, immediately following the swearing in of mayor-elect Dan Plato as a city councillor.

In a lengthy statement released by Herron on Thursday afternoon, he did not mince his words, describing the Democratic Alliance as “a lost party and a lost cause”. Herron said he was driven to quit following the blockade by a “cabal of white DA councillors” of a project in Salt River and Woodstock that was meant to deliver social housing in the city.

In the statement, Herron said he was aware that quitting the party meant he would lose his seat in the city council.

On Monday, speaker of the city council Dirk Smit laid criminal charges against Herron, former mayor De Lille and suspended city official Melissa Whitehead based on a controversial Bowmans’ report.

In his statement, Herron denied any allegations of wrongdoing, by stating: “let me reiterate: despite its almost 2,000-page length, I as a lawyer cannot find any reference to a single document or suggestion by any person that I have taken part in any corrupt actions.

In my opinion, the investigations have been nothing short of an expensive witchhunt designed to defame me.”

Read the full statement here: brettHerron-statement

It was the blocking of the inner city affordable housing development that has been the final straw for me,” read the statement.

Herron served as mayoral committee member for Transport and Urban Development in the city under former mayor Patricia de Lille, regarded as her ally and a former member of De Lille’s now defunct Independent Democrats. He is the ninth councillor to quit both the council and the party within a week.

The past two days were dramatic in the City of Cape Town. On Wednesday afternoon, De Lille finally resigned as mayor, making way for Plato to take over the DA-controlled city council.

Barely an hour after Plato was sworn in, Herron announced his resignation.

During a press briefing before being sworn in on Thursday morning, Plato stuck to the party line and said that he was not taking his election as mayor lightly and he was committed to clean governance and transparency.

At the briefing with city councillors and the press at the Civic Centre in Cape Town, Plato said it was time for “change” and ‘fresh leadership’ in the city.

Addressing the De Lille controversy, Plato said the city was going through a “necessary leadership change” and he was committed to clean governance and transparency after the “fair amount of controversy over the past 18 months”.

Before Herron’s announcement of his resignation, Daily Maverickasked incoming mayor Plato what would happen to Herron — whether he would be fired or not. Plato said he had not had any discussions with Herron at that point. Speaking about the charges laid against Herron, former mayor de Lille and Melissa Whitehead, Plato toldDaily Maverickthatthere were city processes and the party’s processes to be followed.

Plato will be sworn in as mayor on Tuesday morning at a special council meeting announced by council speaker Smit.DM


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