Eden: The Western Cape’s political joke

Charges against MM rooted in charges against Mayor

Decision makers turn to O!O first for what’s really happening in Eden
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 11 May 2013. 08h20. In a letter dated Friday, May 3, but apparently only submitted on Monday, May 6, Eden Mayor Wessie van der Westhuizen requests Speaker Doris Nayler to convene a special council meeting to consider “alleged gross misconduct allegedly perpetrated by the municipal manager, Godfrey Louw”.

The alleged misconduct is described in a letter by Eden’s Cope councillor, Oudtshoorn’s “Reverend” John Maxim, attached to the Mayor’s request.

Maxim accuses Louw of misleading Council on the cost of the forensic investigation of Van der Westhuizen and that Louw “flouted the supply chain management process in the appointment of ENS” to conduct the investigation.

Maxim also accuses Louw of failure to recover R60,000 from Fatima Hoosain-Whatney – O!O reported this matter yesterday.

In an email to WC Minister of Local Government, and WC DA Secretary Anton Bredell; Eden DA Constituency Head Alan Winde; DA WC East Region Chair Christelle Vosloo… and WC DA Deputy Leader and DA Head of Government Affairs – both immediate past WC DA Leader and Eden Constituency Head – Theuns Botha, but not including WC DA Leader Ivan Meyer, Nayler panics:

“… we really need to put our heads together now to come to finality. Please help…”

There are several things quite spectacularly wrong here.

The complaint against the MM is a normal administrative issue. There is no need for the Speaker to press red buttons that trip alarms in Cape Town. Why does the Speaker alert Bredell, Winde, Vosloo, and especially, Botha!?

Why must “heads be put together”; what is it with “finality” if the complaint is but hours old at the time of the Speaker’s email; what possible “help” does the Speaker need if all she is required to do is to call a Special Council Meeting?

The complaint against Louw has a poisonous tail. There is no love lost between the Mayor, Van der Westhuizen, and the MM. Louw was reinstated MM around the time Van der Westhuizen became Mayor after the May 2011 elections, and after a malevolent attempt to have Louw removed innitially succeeded.

The battle between Van der Westhuizen and Louw has never abated and has come to a head in the ENS investigation, seriously compromising the Mayor, even though the investigation was called by the Speaker.

It is also significant to note that the Speaker called the investigation within a very short time after Van der Westhuizen reported to his party leader, Helen Zille, that the then Eden Constituency Head, Botha, regularly had ex parte meetings with the Speaker and the MM, without informing the Mayor of either the meetings, or the outcomes.

Van der Westhuizen confronted Nayler, and the ENS investigation, revealing legitimate anomalies, followed.

But it is significant to note that whilst Van der Westhuizen is being investigated, Theuns Botha had been removed as Eden DA Constituency Head.

The DA spins Botha’s removal, rather unconvincingly, as demanded to level the playing field in anticipation of the Van der Westhuizen hearing and probable conviction. The DA says that if Van der Westhuizen is found guilty while Botha is the DA political boss in Eden, a conviction may be seen as the result of a personal vendetta.

No shit Sherlock!

Yet Botha’s removal, at the very least, confirms the political tension between the Mayor of Western Cape’s prime district and the DA’s Head of Government Affairs. And to think that Botha was instrumental in Van der Westhuizen’s appointment in June 2011!

O!O has intimate knowledge that Botha can not afford to lose Van der Westhuizen. Botha has even intimated that if he loses Louw he can easily redeploy him; but if he loses Van der Westhuizen, he has nowhere to move him.

A loosed Wessie van der Westhuizen, love him or hate him, will destroy the DA in Eden. And you can take that to the bank. The DA knows this only too well.

It is as if Van der Westhuizen is to the DA in Eden as Gordon April is to the ANC in Oudtshoorn – these gentlemen have their parties over a barrel.

The Eden DA Alliance Caucus is divided on the ENS Report because it is divided on Van der Westhuizen. Especially the Cope member, Maxim, has a compelling reason to support Van der Westhuizen at virtually all cost: It is Van der Westhuizen’s hand that feeds Cope duds Allan Kock and Vujani Gouws.

Hence Maxim’s salvo across the bow of Louw (nice, eh!?) – Van der Westhuizen’s enemy; Botha’s confidant.

It is also because Eden and Bitou employes Kock and Gouws that Cope Leader Mosiuoa Lekota refuses to even acknowlege complaints of their disruptive incompetence and ill-discipline.

And the DA Head of Government Affairs, Theuns Botha, simply says that they all work together well – a statement that reminds one of Jacob calling a virtual comatose Mandela “up and about”.

Yet it was Botha, then Van der Westhuizen’s political boss, who ordered the Eden employement of Gouws and Kock immediately following the May 2011 elections – until Bitou and Hessequa were sorted out to receive them. Eventually Gouws remained in Eden and Bitou Mayor Memory Booysen personally thanked Van der Westhuizen, in an email, for holding Kock in anticipation of his Bitou appointment.

Van der Westhuizen and Botha have so much on each other that a veritable cold war exists between the Marks Building and York Street.

This is the main reason why O!O maintains that the DA will do nothing to remove Van der Westhuizen – even given a formal charge sheet, already in the Speaker’s possession… and in the possession of a certain online publication that regularly puts the fear of hell itself into the Marks Building. Although, of course, nobody in the Marks Building ever reads O!O. And, in a metaphysical riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, with apologies to Sir Winston, nobody is better informed of O!O reports than the Marks Building.

The ENS Report has now become the ENS Repulsion. Action against van der Westhuizen is demanded. But action against Van der Westhuizen may harm the DA more than it harms the Mayor. O!O will publish an analysis on this take soon.

The poor DA… Damned if it does; damned if it doesn’t. But a conundrum of the DA’s own municipal political sloppiness.

Hence Speaker Nayler’s call for “help” to all intimately involved in the cold war stand-off.

The call “to put our heads together now” reminds me of something I once read somewhere about Sydney Smith on a proposal to surround St Paul’s with a wooden pavement: “Let the Dean and Canons lay their heads together and the thing will be done.”

1998. Kelly, Rosanna, Ed. The Little Book of Insults. Parragon. Bath. 176.

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6 thoughts on “Eden: The Western Cape’s political joke

  1. Tony. Very quickly. I like what you say and am broadly in agreement with you. Interesting and challenging project you have in mind but I believe of vital importance to councillors and especially to get more of the public interested and informed. Will comment more later

  2. Hey Pletty,

    Nice to read your response. Just a few things.

    Perhaps I dont get it or perhaps most people are just not thinking out the box are are still locked into the election paradigm. Thing is this. Regardless of who gets voted, the results of a well managed municipality is, I assume, what we all want to see, regardless. Now I know that some have political agendas in that they see the WP under the DA and say… see, that’s how you run a province. Well all well and good. The reality however is that in a multiparty democracy you will never have the DA running all the municipalities in South Africa. (I’m sure you can agree with me on that) and its on that basis that we need to look beyond the politics, to the institution of transparent and accountable governance, and that’s where TAMISA comes into play.

    TAMISA – stands for the Transparency and Accountability Initiative of SA, and no, it is as yet just a glint in my eye. It is us, as you say who “…MUST take the required action” and where we differ is in approach only. Your interpenetration of ‘required action’ is to vote once every four years, while I see it as an ongoing process that doesn’t concern itself with petty politicking but that goes to the heart of the matter, regardless of who is in power.

    I am sure you will appreciate that once an issue becomes partisan (as we see in the US), the potential for all kinds of counter productive moves increases exponentially, very often resulting in inaction. Well, we have plenty of that already, so the solution has to lie somewhere else. I have always maintained that a problem can never be solved at the level from which it originated simply because the very instruments that created the problem prevailed for lack of suitable alternatives, whether in the realm of human behavior or the structures that facilitated the problem in the first instance. So, to find a solution.

    Simply put. because the criteria for election to public office are (refer to the constitution) very democratic (putting it nicely), there is never and will never be a guarantee that those that hold ANY public office in South Africa will be suitably qualified. That I believe we can all take as a given. The other alternative is to ensure that those “democratically” elected officials perform at their posts. Period.

    How do we do that? By knowing their job, better than they do, and by insisting that when something needs to be done, or a report is due, that it happens! Sounds impractical? Not so. TAMISA is currently extracting all the relevant sections from all three municipal acts, expounding on each obligation, translating it into ‘the taal’ (which we believe to be a major obstacle to ‘buy in’), and then getting the municipalities to adopt the initiative, for their own benefit or risk being so overwhelmed with non compliance issues and the likes, that the converted positions of Executive Mayor, Municipal Manager, CFO and Speaker become so burdensome, so demanding and so fraught with problems, to the point where alternative employment becomes a really attractive alternative.


  3. Hey Tony,

    It is not a MUST for them as it is for the Speaker, they themselves will first have to have the balls to act and not just make noises that they know will be ignored and then accept being ignored. THEY, not us have the right ito of the law to force the issue. The best we can do is have expectations of them and then observe their performance…

    Where the MUST comes in for us is that when the speaker demonstrates a total disrespect for the law and does not do what she is compelled to do, and when Wessie and the reverend then do not display the balls and sense of responsibility to us to, themselves compel her to do what she must do, then WE MUST take the required action come 2016 and vote for somebody else who will take their job seriously enough to do what must be done no matter how unpleasant it is and who it pisses off.

    TAMISA, as you say will hopefully be a choice at that time.

    THAT is how WE will see to it that we get some competent and responsible people to represent us. As long as we continue doing the same thing – voting for whatever political party who then populate our councils with their party hacks and sycophants who have nothing but their own personal and the relevant party’s interests at heart – we will suffer the inevitable consequences.

    If they don’t want to or can’t kick butt we must kick theirs. My boots are itching!

    Seriously, come election time WE must show some responsibility too and not just vote for a party without first evaluating their candidates. It is very easy with incumbent councillors. If you don’t like Wessies performance, or the reverend’s performance, DON’T VOTE for their party, otherwise you WILL have them for another term.

    I voted DA last time and it got me Wessie. I can’t like what he has done. If he is on the list and I vote DA again next time, I will again get Wessie. I know that, and I will NEVER make that mistake again.

    You say TAMISA is a better option? Lets see their list and then if it passes muster, lets throw everything behind them…

  4. @ pletty

    you say
    ‘If Wessie and the reverend are serious, they must simply follow the procedure set down in section 29(1)…

    Now if the act makes provision for that (which it obviously does) then surely its not a case of ‘if Wessie’ but that in terms of the act they are compelled to. and its up to us to see that they do.

    Your comments..

  5. If Wessie and the reverend are serious, they must simply follow the procedure set down in section 29(1) of the Structures Act. Quite simple really, 50% plus 1 of the councillors to sign a letter demanding a council meeting at a set time, date and venue. Under the circumstances it should be very easy to get the majority of councillors to agree as they must obviously, as responsible councillors who have the interests of the municipality at heart, be in favour of having such a meeting and getting to the bottom of the matter as quickly and effectively as possible.

    “29.( 1 ) The speaker of a municipal council decides when and where the council meets 40
    subject to section 18(2). but if a majority of the councillors requests the speaker in
    writing to convene a council meeting, the speaker must convene a meeting at a time set
    out in the request.”

    Just remember, Wessie and reverend, under these circumstances, the time date and venue is yours to decide. The speaker MUST convene the meeting accordingly. In the event that the Speaker or any of the minority of councillors cannot make it, that’s too bad for them. Simply pitch up at the venue at the set time, date and venue and proceed ito section 41 of the Act.

    “41. If the speaker of a municipal council is absent or not available to perform the
    functions of speaker, or during a vacancy. the council must elect another councillor to
    act as speaker.”

    Have fun, guys, if you have the balls to take the speaker on head-on.

  6. Brilliant. But again, unnecessary.

    I really need to reiterate my stance and shout it from the proverbial roof top. TAMISA!

    Honestly people. What does it matter who serves on what council as long as they do their frigin job! Yes, I know that some might accuse me of political naiveté but let’s take a step backwards and realise a few things.

    Firstly, There will ALWAYS be a political mix – ‘Man is a political animal’*
    Secondly, for as long as we continue to have an Exec Mayor with ward participation the problem with mayors, speakers and the likes will NOT disappear.

    So, lets “put our heads together”, Hell No!, on second thoughts that’s bound to be disastrous. I have a better idea. Forget the heads, let’s get down to WORK and focus on what really needs to be done and that is to get the Oudtshoorn municipality back to work. Hopefully (though I doubt it) they won’t have time to fight. But even if they do, let them, there are only 24 hours in a day and if the Mayor, CFO, MM or speaker are too busy fighting one another that can only mean they are NOT doing their job and well… do I have to say it.

    But as citizens and residents of Oudtshoorn and Kannaland, lets support TAMISA, an initiative which in its simplicity, has the (final) oops, solution.

    Remember: When the lights go out and the taps no longer work, (you guessed it) IT’S TOO FRIGIN LATE!
    To quote Dr Phil – “You either get, or you don’t”.

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