Suspended – Mayor Jeffrey Donson and son accused of ‘sowing discord’ within Icosa
Bringing his party into disrepute and sowing divisions within the party are among the reasons for the suspension of convicted rapist and Mayor Jeffrey Donson from Icosa — the very party of which he is president. Donson’s son Vlancio, an Oudtshoorn councillor, was also suspended on similar charges.
Jeffrey Donson, the mayor of Kannaland Municipality in the Western Cape, and his son Vlancio, a councillor in the Oudtshoorn Municipality, have been suspended by the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) — of which Donson Snr is president.
Letters of suspension were issued on Wednesday, 4 October.
The letters said the Donsons were suspended for “bringing ICOSA into disrepute and sowing discord within ICOSA … which is not in alignment with the Constitution of ICOSA and that such actions do not positively add value to the advancement and growth of the party”.
In addition, the pair, in separate letters, have been suspended for “unconstitutionally abusing your authority to sow discord and confusion within the party”.
Vlancio Donson is the deputy mayor in the Oudtshoorn Municipality, which is governed by a coalition of the Democratic Alliance, Icosa and the Freedom Front Plus.
Jeffrey Donson is the more well known of the two. In 2021, he made headlines after being elected to lead Kannaland Municipality for another term despite having been convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl.
Icosa governs the seven-seat Kannaland council via a coalition with the Karoo Independent Party. The municipality has been criticised for its service delivery problems and the Special Investigating Unit last year noted that it had not disciplined officials for failing to comply with the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act.
In February, the Auditor-General said Kannaland owed Eskom more than R32-million. More recently, Kannaland received a “disclaimer” audit opinion from the AG’s office — the only municipality in the Western Cape to receive such a finding.
Icosa’s Western Cape leader, Dawid Kamfer, could not reveal the exact charges against the pair, saying the charges need to first go to the party’s disciplinary committee.
Kamfer confirmed both Donsons have until 5pm on Friday, 6 October to respond to the suspension notices, as well as provide reasons why they might believe the suspensions should not proceed. Failing that, the matter will be handed over to the provincial disciplinary committee.
The pair’s Icosa membership has been suspended pending their responses and they are prohibited from participating in any Icosa “activities, administration or organisation” ahead of the outcome of their disciplinary hearings. The suspension does not affect their municipal roles, Kamfer said.
“At this point, the charges are only within the party,” he said.
Kamfer confirmed to Daily Maverick the matter was expected to be raised on Saturday during a meeting of the party’s provincial leadership in Riviersonderend, a small town in the Western Cape. Kamfer said “big decisions” would be made at this meeting.
Following the 2021 municipal elections, Icosa has seven council seats in the Western Cape: three in Kannaland, two in Oudtshoorn and one in each of Witzenberg and Mossel Bay. This represents 0.7% of the votes in the Western Cape.
Daily Maverick attempted to get responses from both Donsons on Thursday morning. We were told by Vlancio Donsons’ office that he was in a meeting and that he could not be reached, even via cellphone. His office did not provide a time for him to be reached. Jeffrey Donsons’ office told Daily Maverick he would be available to speak after 2pm, as he was in meetings all morning. We shall update this article with any comment or developments. DM