DA-led alliance loses power in Knysna council to ANC-led coalition
ANC's Aubrey Tsengwa is the new Knysna mayor after several motions of no confidence were passed in the Western Cape coastal municipality on Wednesday.
During a special council sitting, motions of no confidence were passed against Democratic Alliance (DA) Speaker Julie Lopes, Deputy Mayor Mark Willemse from the Knysna Independent Movement (KIM) and DA Mayor Levael Davis.
Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Beauty Charlie kicked off the motion against Lopes, stating that on “numerous occasions” Lopes had failed to act impartially as Speaker and it was in the “best interest” that she be removed from the position. The motion passed with 11 to nine votes in the 21-seat council, with one abstention, from KIM councillor Susan Campbell.
Eleven votes made Mncedisi Skosana (ANC) the council Speaker.
Willemse and Davis were replaced by Alberto Marbi from the Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners (PBI) and Tsengwa, respectively.
Mboneli Khumelwana (ANC) was appointed as council whip.
The council has 21 seats and is split. On one side are the DA (eight seats) and KIM (two seats). On the other is a coalition made up of the ANC (seven seats), the PA (two seats) and the PBI (one seat). The one seat of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) means it usually makes the decisions in the council, including who leads it.
In June, the PA led a failed motion of no confidence. PA councillor Waleed Grootboom told Daily Maverick that he blamed the failure of the motion squarely on EFF councillor Neil Louw for abstaining from the vote.
Wednesday’s successful attempt by the PA to take power from the DA followed a spat between the two parties over comments allegedly made by DA interim Western Cape leader Tertuis Simmers against PA president Gayton McKenzie. The DA and PA are coalition partners in the City of Johannesburg and the City of Ekurhuleni.
In the Western Cape, the PA withdrew from its two alliances with the DA in the Matzikama and Knysna municipalities.
‘Coalition of Corruption’
DA constituency head Dr Dion George described the motions of no confidence as being led by a “Coalition of Corruption”.
“The motions of no confidence that passed in council today have nothing to do with service delivery and everything to do with narrow self-interest,” said George, soon after the municipality’s new leadership was elected.
“A Coalition of Corruption (ANC/PA/EFF/PBI) has been cobbled together to loot and steal whatever might be left after the previous ANC government looted our town.”
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
George said the DA would now form a “formidable opposition and hold the Coalition of Corruption to account”.
In his acceptance speech, Tsengwa said the “new leadership was ready to drive Knysna in a new direction”. One of his immediate actions was to appoint a full-time municipal manager, something Tsengwa said “the DA and KIM could not do”.
Tsengwa also claimed the DA and KIM had “stifled investment into our area and brought tourism to a standstill” since they came into power after the 2021 municipal election.
Tsengwa announced his new mayoral committee:
- Deputy Mayor Alberto Marbi: mayoral committee member (MMC) for Planning, Economic Development & Tourism;
- ANC councillor Thando Matika: MMC for Finance and Governance;
- PA councillor Waleed Grootboom: MMC for Community Services;
- PA councillor Beauty Charlie: MMC for Infrastructure Services; and
- ANC councillor Kay Andrews: MMC for Integrated Human Settlements. DM