Patriotic Alliance breaks Knysna coalition with ANC, says it ‘won’t vote’ in council
The Patriotic Alliance has withdrawn from its governing coalition in the Knysna Municipality, citing ‘disrespect’ from the regional ANC leadership. However, it said it would not enter into a coalition with the DA.
Two councillors from the Patriotic Alliance (PA) in the Knysna Municipality, Western Cape, resigned from their mayoral committee positions on Wednesday, 6 September, on instruction from party leader Gayton McKenzie, following allegations that the ANC showed “disrespect” and McKenzie’s unhappiness over the appointment of officials in the municipality.
The PA’s Waleed Grootboom was the mayoral committee member for community services and councillor Beauty Charlie was responsible for infrastructure services.
On Facebook Live on Tuesday, 5 September, McKenzie had instructed the councillors to resign by 10am the next day or be immediately expelled from the party. The PA and ANC ran the Knysna council through a coalition, but this marked a break in the coalition agreement.
McKenzie asked the councillors to resign after claims that the local ANC regional leadership had shown “disrespect”. Another reason mentioned by McKenzie was the appointment of senior leadership which McKenzie claimed did not “represent South Africa”.
A social media post from the municipality had shown its senior administrative leadership as being black African. McKenzie claimed that when he had seen job vacancies for senior managers in the municipality earlier, he had spoken to the mayor and ANC regional leadership to “make sure all races were represented at the top”.
McKenzie further claimed: “I turned my back, the whole senior management of Knysna municipality was just African guys.”
He accused some within the leadership of not being qualified for their posts after he met one of the applicants for a position in the municipality.
McKenzie said: “Knysna should look like South Africa.”
Listen to McKenzie’s full post here:
Knysna’s upside-down coalition politics
“So PA is no longer part of Knysna municipality,” McKenzie announced.
However, he insisted the PA “will not” go into a coalition with its political rival, the DA. McKenzie said the PA councillors “will not vote” in council decisions, adding “whoever must lead, must lead”.
Previously, Daily Maverick reported how the PA had formed a coalition in Knysna with the DA before that coalition was broken by the PA.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Coalition with DA on shaky ground after Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie ‘insulted’
The Knysna municipality has 21 council seats: ANC (7), DA (8), Economic Freedom Fighters (1), Knysna Independent Movement (2), Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners (1) and the PA’s two seats.
After the 2021 municipal elections, the EFF emerged as the kingmaker and allowed the DA to take office with the Knysna Independent Movement (KIM). In June 2022, the PA tried for a motion of no confidence against the DA/KIM coalition, but this failed when the EFF councillor Neil Louw abstained.
But by August 2022, the DA/KIM coalition was forced out of power during a council session, paving the way for a coalition of the PA, ANC, Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners and EFF to govern.
Soon afterwards this coalition came under scrutiny, after making several political appointments, including individuals linked to parties. This year, political schisms were deepened when the DA took on the coalition over high municipal rates for the upcoming financial year.
ANC meets to discuss PA withdrawal
“We note the comments made by Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie on the latest developments in the Knysna municipality,” ANC provincial spokesperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed told Daily Maverick when contacted for comment.
He said the party’s provincial leadership was meeting the regional leadership and Knysna councillors. The discussion would be tabled at a provincial working committee meeting, scheduled for Thursday. Only then would a decision on the issue be made public, Sayed said. DM