JAKKALSE AND RED HERRINGS IN SWELLENDAM’s HOENDERHOK

The main points:

  • The DA’s Mayor publicly criticised the ACDP and its Speaker this week:  Die Burger: 06 July 2011 “ACDP-lid gooi ‘n jakkals in Swellendamse hoenderhok” – http://bit.ly/rpSozz
  • He did so knowing full well that a meeting had already been arranged between the DA’s Theuns Botha and their Deputy Mayor with the ACDP’s Speaker and Grant Haskin.
  • This meeting took place yesterday:  The co-governing agreement remains intact and many of the ‘jakkalse’ contained.
  • But the article ignores the complexity of this issue and incorrectly assumes the DA has done no wrong.
Furthermore, what emerged at the meeting, is that the DA has aggravated and further complicated an already complex situation.

BACKGROUND:

At the 18 May 2011 Local Government Elections, the DA won 4 seats, the ANC won 4 seats and the ACDP won 1 seat, making it the king-maker.   After receiving offers from both the DA and the ANC, the ACDP’s national leadership made the decision to co-govern with the DA.

However, this partnership has been under pressure from day one due, in the main, to several complex issues relating to the MM.

Over this past weekend, the DA’s Theuns Botha and I arranged to meet with some of the local role-players yesterday to discuss this matter and find a way forward. The DA’s Mayor, however, thought it prudent to jump the gun by criticising the ACDP and its Speaker  for, inter alia, voting with the ANC against the DA and raising concerns about DA-appointed appeal panel to hear the MM’s appeal (see above-linked article).

The result of yesterdays meeting is that the co-governing agreement remains intact and agreement has been reached on how to finalise the MM matter.

THEIR ‘JAKKALSE’ AND RED HERRINGS:

BUT what emerged at the meeting is that the DA has also aggravated an already complex matter.  In keeping with the article’s headline, these are some of the ‘jakkalse’ and red herrings the DA has ‘gooi’d’ into Swellendam’s hoenderhok:

  • They purposely stayed away from the urgent council meeting, forcing the ACDP and ANC to deal with the matter without them.  It was not by ANC or ACDP design that they voted together.
  • In fact, they discussed the meeting with the Speaker the day before and their Deputy Mayor’s suggestions to the Speaker (made 30 minutes before the meeting), were still included in the council decision. Yet they stayed away.
  • They now agree that the ACDP has not breached the co-governing agreement.  Similarly, the DA has also not breached the agreement by criticizing the ACDP in public.  Still, grand-standing in that way does not impress me.
  • They now agree that their Mayor breached the council decision by acting on his own instead of holding a Mayco meeting (in public), with the Speaker participating.
  • They now agree with the ACDP’s concerns about the process of appointment of the appeal panel and its composition. Legal opinion is now being sought.
  • They now agree that the Mayor ought to have reacted immediately to the written concerns regarding the appeal panel, before it heard the appeal.
  • They now agree that the Speaker is compelled by law to investigate all serious allegations against Councillors – including the Mayor.

It’s also pleasing to note that the ACDP’s local structures are more willing to proceed with this partnership due to the strength of the agreement, notwithstanding the inter-party dynamics that test it – albeit frequently.

This is a nice way of saying that, in my view, the DA won this “jakkals gooi-ing” competition.

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