Coalition with DA on shaky ground after Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie ‘insulted’
The Patriotic Alliance has informally told the Democratic Alliance it will withdraw from its coalitions in the province over alleged ‘insults’ about PA president Gayton McKenzie.
There is trouble between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) coalition in the Western Cape over comments made by DA interim provincial leader Tertuis Simmers about the PA president, Gayton McKenzie, and his mayoral chain.
The PA has informally told the DA it will withdraw from its coalitions in the province over the alleged “insults”. The PA’s deputy president, Kenny Kunene, confirmed this to Daily Maverick on Thursday.
“We are not going to allow anyone to insult us any more,” said Kunene during a telephone call.
The party announced it would remove itself from coalitions with the DA in two Western Cape municipalities — Knysna and Matzikama — following alleged insults by Simmers. News24 reported that Simmers is alleged to have described McKenzie’s appointment as mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality as “political thuggery”.
In April, McKenzie was elected as a councillor of the Laingsburg municipality after the party’s councillor Mitchell Smith resigned from his position. At the same council sitting where McKenzie was inaugurated as a councillor, he was elected as the municipality’s representative on the district council.
On 11 April, McKenzie was elected unopposed as mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality in his first council sitting.
Kunene said Simmers’ comments were not only an insult to McKenzie and the PA, but also to those in the Central Karoo who voted for the party. Kunene pointed out that during the council sitting — at which Kunene was present — DA councillors agreed to McKenzie’s nomination and election as mayor as they did not field a candidate of their own. Kunene said Simmers’ comments “insulted a democratic process”.
Kunene also questioned how a political “junior” could be allowed to insult a party president. According to Kunene, the DA has yet to reprimand Simmers or distance itself from the comments, despite the PA talking informally to the DA about it.
Following a meeting with the PA’s National Executive Committee, the party decided to withdraw from the coalition in the province, Kunene confirmed to Daily Maverick.
Kunene said the party had informally told the DA of its plans to leave the coalition, but it had not done so formally yet.
Daily Maverick has sought comment from Helen Zille, the DA’s Federal Council chair and point person for coalitions, who had not responded by the time of publication. When Daily Maverick receives a comment, it will be included.
In March, Daily Maverick reported the PA was slowly starting to work with the DA in municipalities such as Knysna, where it voted with the party to nominate a representative to the municipality’s disciplinary committee. However, in council it emerged the candidate was allegedly the husband of a PA councillor in the neighbouring Bitou municipality as well as a spokesperson for the party. Then PA councillor Waleed Grootboom was appointed as Knysna mayoral committee member for community services.
However, on Thursday afternoon, the municipality confirmed that Grootboom had resigned from the DA-led mayoral committee. Confirming the news via a statement on the municipality’s social media channels, Mayor Levael Davis said: “I would like to thank Cllr Grootboom for his positive contributions to the mayoral committee and for serving the greater Knysna people with passion.”
Despite Grootboom’s resignation from the mayoral committee, he remains a municipal councillor.
Kunene confirmed to Daily Maverick the coalition between the two parties remained in place in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. DM