Another DA mayor gets the boot by his caucus
24 May 2018
Bergriver Mayor Evert Manuel has resigned from his position in the municipality after he lost the confidence of his own caucus.
Manuel resigned on Wednesday just before a special council sitting was due to hold a motion of no confidence vote in his leadership, Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela told News24.
This comes after the party's DA caucus in the region passed its own internal motion of no confidence in Manuel last week, indicating it would call for the special sitting to remove him through council.
Madikizela said the party's federal executive (Fed Ex) had approved the decision on Monday, following "serious allegations" made against Manuel.
"[The] federal executive received a letter sometime last week indicating they have lost confidence in him and would be moving a motion of no confidence against him.
"Because the allegations were so serious, Fed Ex conducted a meeting telephonically and that permission was granted."
Madikizela said Manuel was accused by his caucus of accepting a bribe from the ANC so that he could join the ANC.
He claimed he knew "for sure" from information from his sources as provincial leader that the ANC in some municipalities outside the metros, where the DA governs by a slim majority of just one or two seats, were attempting to "bribe" DA councillors to cause instability or force by-elections.
According to the party's new recall processes, a member in an executive post has 48 hours to resign if a motion of no confidence is passed in their leadership.
"The caucus can choose to use any clause in the Constitution and I think, partly because of the current impasse that we have in the City of Cape Town, they decided to take the safest route by going through council [and making it official constitutionally]."
Deputy Mayor Sandra Crofford will step in as acting mayor until council elects a new mayor.
Manuel had until the end of Thursday to resign as a party member as well, Madikizela added.
ANC West Coast secretary Neville Delport on Thursday denied allegations that the party was trying to bribe DA councillors.
"Obviously there is no real evidence that the ANC bribed him. Evert Manuel talks quite closely to everyone. He had chats with our chief whip. They all stay in one town," Delport told News24.
"I don't know why they are saying that. Yesterday in the council, the DA acknowledged that this was one of the three best performing municipalities in the province under Manuel.
"They couldn't give us the real answers why they wanted him out," he claimed.
Delport claimed Manuel was close to Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, and that's why the party was trying to remove him and others.
Earlier in the week, the ANC West Coast slammed the move, saying the DA’s implosion was "imminent".
"Infighting has now blown the lid on this boiling pot and one after the other, key DA mayors in the rural areas are being removed in what seems a domino game gone very wrong," the statement read.
"These cold-blooded moves based on race are costing the DA dearly, and more and more DA members are indicating a move away."
Another ANC councillor and Khoisan Defiance Campaign convenor, Sammy Claasen, accused the DA of wanting to return to "white rule" by kicking out mayors of colour.
Other DA mayors who have also lost the confidence of their caucuses over the last few months include Matzikama Mayor Rhenda Stephan and Knysna Deputy Mayor Peter Myers.
"Have you ever heard the ANC admitting that they have done something [wrong]?" Madikizela responded.
Madikizela dismissed the "racial narratives" being driven by the ANC as "nonsense".
"I'm not sure what the ANC can say about the Matzikama mayor, because she is not aligned to Patricia de Lille, and she is white.
"I'm not sure what the ANC can say about the Knysna deputy, because he is not aligned to Patricia de Lille, and he is also white.
"That whole statement by Sammy Claasen is a racist diatribe that pulls the race card, which is the only card they can pull."
The party ultimately was moving to remove members it could no longer trust. The new clause in its constitution had enabled the party to ensure greater accountability of problematic members in executive posts, he said.
"If the mayors are not doing what they are elected to do, then obviously caucuses have the right to remove them.
"This is a good move, because now mayors know they will be held accountable. Previously, some mayors felt they could do as they please."
Madikizela also laughed off the ANC's allegation that the federal executive, through its chairperson James Selfe, had instructed the caucus to remove Manuel.
"Ag, that's nonsense man. That's the narrative they are pushing that white people are instructing coloureds and so on," he said.
"James Selfe is the chairperson of the federal council, so he is the one who communicates on behalf of the federal executive.
"It was after the decision of the federal executive was made [on Monday], and after the caucus already [informed us]."
News24 could not reach Manuel for additional comment on Thursday.