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WESTERN CAPE

Two key Patriotic Alliance members jump ship to join Democratic Alliance in West Coast district

DA Western Cape interim leader Tertuis Simmers gives a T-shirt to Christo Boks, while Matzikama mayor Johan van der Hoven puts another on Brenden Owies on 3 May 2022. Owies and Boks have quit the Patriotic Alliance and joined the DA. (Photo: Suné Payne)

Amid a broken coalition between the DA and the Patriotic Alliance in the Western Cape, two leading figures of the PA in the Matzikama Municipality in the West Coast district have quit to join the DA.

Key Patriotic Alliance (PA) figures Brenden Owies and Christo Boks have quit the party, they confirmed during a media briefing at the DA’s provincial offices in Cape Town on Tuesday. 

Having made the two-hour journey from the Matzikama Municipality, the pair said that following a community meeting on Sunday afternoon, their constituency said they would prefer that they worked with the DA and not the ANC, as political representatives. 

The PA has pulled out of a coalition with the DA in the municipality, which is governed by a DA mayor. Following a dispute over alleged insults towards PA leader Gayton McKenzie, the party pulled out of the DA/PA alliance, and could potentially work with the ANC to govern, including in Matzikama. 

Boks said his constituency did not want the PA to work with the ANC, but the DA. 

“I made a decision for the sake of my community and residents,” said Boks during the briefing. “We can’t do anything our community did not want to do,” said Owies, echoing Boks’s words.  

Boks is a PA ward councillor while Owies is the PA’s head in the municipality. 

Matzikama is a rural municipality on the West Coast, comprising towns such as Klawer, Doringbaai and Vredendal. In the 2021 municipal elections the DA won 37,3% of the vote and six council seats. The PA was third overall, with 12,52% of the vote, which earned the party two council seats. 

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Matzikama is one of two municipalities where the DA was in a coalition with the PA. 

However, the PA pulled out of the coalition following a News24 report that DA Western Cape interim leader Tertuis Simmers is alleged to have called McKenzie’s election as mayor “political thuggery”. McKenzie was elected unopposed in April, following his appointment as a councillor in the Laingsburg Municipality, where he was seconded to the district council as its representative. 

PA deputy president Kenny Kunene then confirmed to Daily Maverick that the party had withdrawn from its coalition with the DA in the Western Cape, affecting the Matzikama and Knysna municipalities. Last Thursday, the Knysna Municipality confirmed that PA councillor Waleed Grootboom resigned from the DA-led mayoral committee, but remains an ordinary councillor. 

During Tuesday’s briefing, Boks confirmed he had tendered his resignation as councillor in a letter sent to the town’s municipal manager. 

With Boks’s resignation, a by-election in Ward 7 will have to be held. Kunene told Daily Maverick the party would contest the by-election. “We wish the gentlemen well in their new political home and personal endeavours,” he added about the duo, telling Daily Maverick that the party stood by its decision to remove itself from its coalition and didn’t regret it. DM

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