As most people will be aware, motions of no confidence in the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the Chief Whip of the current DA/AUF/PDC coalition, in which the DA holds 5 of the 7 seats, were submitted to the municipality yesterday by the ANC, PA (Patriotic Alliance) and IPM (Ikhwazi Political Movement) councillors together with the current speaker, Claude Terblanche, from the PDC (Plett Democratic Congress).
Councillor Terblanche has, by all accounts, jumped ship from the current coalition and signed the motions along with the ANC-led coalition.
Council will vote on the motions in a meeting to be held at 9am on 2 February.
In the absence of any clear reason behind this decision, we can only assume that self interest is the key motivation.
In the last election the DA received 40% of the vote and the ANC 29% so it is quite clear who the community voted to govern our town. Councillor Terblanche and the PDC only received 6.5% of the vote so it is unfortunate that this small, local party is capable of shifting the overall balance of power, against the wishes of the community.
Should the motions be carried, and the PDC sides with the ANC and PA, Terblanche will topple a DA majority coalition that has made significant strides since the mess that the ANC led administration left in 2021.
The prospects of the ANC governing Plett again are too disastrous to contemplate. One only needs to reflect on the past damage inflicted by the ANC on our town and its resources to understand what will happen. One thing is for certain, these political dynamics are not driven by community interests. Power, greed and self-interest are at the heart of this, as they are across so many of our municipalities in South Africa.
Councillor Claude Terblanche will have a lot to answer for, from both his New Horizons community and the communities across Bitou. He started off as an impressive Speaker, supposedly a man of integrity – but his legacy will be tainted if he decides to go through with his change of allegiance.
If the motions are carried, they will have far-reaching implications for our town. Effectively, control will pass to the ANC and PA whose leader Gayton McKenzie stated yesterday that he was on his way to Plett to “topple the DA government”. A rumour is circulating that Plett could even have Gayton McKenzie as Bitou mayor as he appointed himself in Beaufort West before it collapsed.
A return to ANC control, based on previous experience will result in the ruling politicians treating municipal resources, not as the subject of stewardship, but as its private kitty. In the past, they demonstrated a total absence of fiscal responsibility, over-spending on self-interests, lack of controls and cronyism.
If anyone thinks this is mere fear mongering, we only have to look at Knysna, to see in technicolor what ANC/PA control looks like.
The Plett Ratepayers are urging all the role players, especially Councillor Terblanche and his PDC party to carefully reconsider the implications of their decision. The Bitou community deserves to hear from Terblanche his justification for shifting the balance of power to an ANC led coalition. We will keep you informed as events unfold.