DA’s suspended Malusi Booi is back in Cape Town council — but whom is he representing?
The Democratic Alliance suspended its councillor Malusi Booi from taking part in any party activities. But Booi is back at work as an ordinary councillor. What’s going on?
The DA Cape Town caucus finds itself in a rather confusing and delicate situation following the suspension of one of its leading members, Malusi Booi.
How it all started
DA councillor Booi was also the mayoral committee (Mayco) member responsible for human settlements when his office was raided by the police’s Commercial Crimes Unit on 15 March.
Although no one was arrested, electronic equipment (including Booi’s mobile device and laptop) and documents were confiscated. The police said the raid was part of an investigation into fraud and corruption in the Human Settlements Directorate.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis then moved to suspend Booi from his Mayco role following the raid.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town Mayco member Malusi Booi suspended after police raid
A week later, the mayor pulled the plug on Booi and fired him from his Mayco post. This came after Hill-Lewis received an update from the police and said he believed that the allegations were serious. To protect the integrity of the municipality, he said, it was best to fire Booi.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said they are still investigating and no arrests had been made.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town mayor fires Malusi Booi from mayoral committee after update from SAPS
While Booi was fired from the Mayco role, he remains a City of Cape Town councillor.
As expected, the DA also moved to suspend him from party activities pending the finalisation of the investigation into his alleged misconduct. This meant Booi, one of the DA’s senior members, would miss the party’s federal congress in April.
Read more in Daily Maverick: AWOL Malusi Booi out in the cold following suspension from all DA activities
Booi’s troubles come amid increasing extortion by gangs that are hampering housing projects in Cape Town, and as the city’s security budget has been topped up by R15-million to protect construction sites.
Hill-Lewis told the Western Cape Standing Committee on Human Settlements on 27 January that extortion, unlawful occupation or forceful community disruption of housing in 12 of the City of Cape Town’s housing projects were affecting about 4,500 beneficiaries of state-subsidised housing.
A R1-million reward has been issued for information leading to the arrest of the gunmen who killed city official Wendy Kloppers in Delft on 16 February.
Where is Booi now?
After going awol for almost a month, Booi made his first public appearance during slain activist Loyiso Nkohla’s memorial service in Khayelitsha on 25 April.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Mourners pay tribute to Loyiso Nkhohla the ‘true activist who was a unifier’
A day later, he made his first appearance in the council following his firing. Booi did not have his work laptop when he attended, and EFF councillors asked Speaker Felicity Purchase to provide Booi with “tools of [the] trade”. But Booi was not provided with these and left before the meeting was adjourned.
Daily Maverick asked Booi where he had been and told him that we could not find him at his residential address. “I have been at my place,” he said. “I have more than one place.” Later, Booi declined to comment further on the allegations of fraud and corruption.
Suspended by the party, but representing the party?
Booi is a DA councillor in the City of Cape Town. The DA has the majority of 134 councillors out of the 231. The 134 DA councillors represent the party and its ideas of governance. Before every council meeting, party councillors meet to discuss what will be debated and sometimes to defend the party’s position on items discussed in council meetings.
Now that Booi is suspended by the DA he cannot attend the caucus meetings that take place before council meetings, Hill-Lewis confirmed.
With Booi suspended by his party but not as a council member, who does he then represent in the council?
The Office of the Speaker confirmed that they were not investigating Booi as the SAPS investigation was still ongoing.
Hill-Lewis said he did not have the power to suspend Booi from the council.
“There is a disciplinary process [that must first be followed] through the committee and then a recommendation [made] to the MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning.”
[WATCH] Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says councillor Malusi Booi is suspended from the party but remains an ordinary councillor. Booi cannot attend DA caucus meetings but can attend council meetings. Whom is he representing in the council? pic.twitter.com/DPZXhC1n01
— Veve (@LudidiVelani) May 5, 2023
Six weeks after the police raid, with no criminal charges against Booi yet, Hill-Lewis said the situation was not ideal and he was concerned.
“It is also not what was conveyed to me at the time [by the police]. The bottom line is that they have to do their job, I have to do my job and my job is to protect the integrity of the city.”
He said the delays in the criminal justice system were unfair to Booi.
The DA can decide to recall Booi from the council, which will not trigger a by-election because he is a proportional representative (PR) councillor and not a ward councillor. PR councillors are given positions in the council based on the percentage of votes their political party received in the local elections.
DA provincial leader Tertuis Simmers said questions should be directed to the party’s Cape Town caucus leader, Hill-Lewis, who has said that a disciplinary process would first need to be followed if they were to take action.
The party is seemingly waiting for its own investigation to conclude.
The case of Zahid Badroodien
Another City of Cape Town DA councillor who was embroiled in a scandal is the Mayco member for water and sanitation, Zahid Badroodien, who stepped down after allegations surfaced that he had tampered with the electricity box at his home.
He got off with a warning after the disciplinary committee could not prove that he had in fact tampered with the electricity meter, that he had the intent to tamper with the meter, or that he was aware of any tampering of electricity meters on the property.
Badroodien has since returned to his role after the council accepted the recommendation made by the disciplinary committee.
Booi is active on social media and has promised to speak to the media soon.
If ukuphapha was a person 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/TDuv58CCne
— Malusi Booi (@MalusiBooi) May 3, 2023