NEWS & ANALYSIS

ACDP withdraws from Cape Town govt

Kenneth Meshoe MP says his party is walking away following DA's breach of agreement

ACDP President, Rev. KRJ Meshoe, MP today announced that the ACDP is walking away from the Multi Party Government of the City of Cape Town and all other municipalities in the Western Cape where it governs with the Democratic Alliance (DA).

"We regret having to make this decision but we do so due to the bad faith of the DA who has broken the City Multi Party Government (MPG) agreement, signed in March 2006, and a similar agreement in Theewaterskloof municipality (where the DA unilaterally removed the ACDP's Mayco member Cllr. Simmers in May 2009).

The DA broke the City MPG agreement in May 2009 by announcing their intention to remove the ACDP's office bearer (Cllr. Haskin) from its negotiated post of Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, basing their decision on allegations against two other ACDP office bearers. The details of these allegations have still not been provided by the DA in spite of their written undertaking to do so on 11 May 2009.  The DA used their larger caucus numbers in council to pass their motion of no-confidence in Cllr. Haskin. 

Allow me to briefly sketch the necessary background to the Multi Party Agreement in Cape Town.

The ACDP played a key role in setting up the City of Cape Town MPG after the municipal election of March 2006, by forming a forum of smaller parties, which then agreed to invite the DA to form the MPG.  Similar agreements have existed in other municipalities in the Western Cape but none of these agreements were ever dependant on each other.

In January 2007, the Cape Town MPG' s slim and fragile majority of 1 seat ended when the African Muslim Party (AMP) was kicked out for plotting with the ANC to overthrow the MPG.

For most onlookers, the announcement regarding the AMP's leaving and the Independent Democrats (ID) joining shortly thereafter appeared as a mature, seamless transition.  But it was the ACDP who, alone, re-secured the future of this government by offering up its most senior seat (Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town) in order to draw the ID into the government. This selfless act is yet to be repeated by another party in the government.  Had the ACDP not done so, the City government's vital vision of presenting a successful coalition to all South Africans would have ended there and then.

The ACDP's sacrifice restored the MPG, brought about a more comfortable majority, and ensured political stability in Cape Town. The DA continually chooses to ignore this.

But in Sept 2007, the then Executive Mayor, Helen Zille, rejected the ACDP's choice for Deputy Mayor (being Cllr. Haskin), eventually admitting publicly that they wanted the post for themselves.  Though the DA eventually capitulated and reluctantly agreed that the ACDP could retain this post, this clearly indicates how desperate they were to obtain this particular post.

The DA finally succeeded in taking this post from the ACDP on 27 May 2009 and publicly admitted once again that they need the post "to be as effective as possible politically".  This proves that their taking the post has nothing to do with their claims and allegations against the ACDP.

The ACDP walks away from governing with the DA in the Western Cape because we are not prepared to be used and discarded by the DA when they no longer need us, this particularly after they needed us in order to begin governing and to achieve the remarkable success in governing. 

The ACDP remains committed to the principles, vision and need for multi party governance in South Africa, to participate in such governments and to contribute to their success across South Africa.  However, the kind of treatment we have been subjected to by the DA does not bode well for all partner parties, especially given the likelihood of there being no outright winner in the 2011 Local Government Elections in certain municipalities or the 2014 National Elections in certain Provinces.

In conclusion we wish to thank the former Executive Deputy Mayor, Cllr Grant Haskin, for his exemplary track record of hard work, dedication and initiative during his term in office as the Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town.  Amongst numerous examples, in his term he delivered South Africa's first two municipal outpatient treatment centres for alcohol and drug users (with two more opening this year), South Africa's first municipal 24/7 toll free helpline for alcohol and drug related challenges, and represented not only Host City Cape Town, but indeed South Africa as 2010 Fifa World Cup hosts with excellence, ably presenting the Host City's 2010 progress and readiness to scores of international guests, journalists, Fifa and senior politicians. The ACDP is proud of these achievements which prove that we are ready and able to govern whenever the opportunity presents itself".

Issued by the ACDP, June 11 2009

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