How dreadfully we fail in Oudtshoorn
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 30 October 2013. 00h01. A foremost relational Calvinist, Johannes Althusius (1557–1638) published his Systematic Analysis of Politics in 1603 and redefined politics with these opening words:
Politics is the art of associating men for the purpose of establishing, cultivating, and conserving social life among them.
Althusius followed with this powerful statement of human interdependence:
Truly, in living this life no man is self-sufficient, or adequately endowed by nature. For when he is born, destitute of all help, naked and defenceless…he is cast forth into the hardships of this life, not able by his own efforts to reach a maternal breast, nor to endure the harshness of his condition… Nor in his adulthood is he able…to provide by his own energies all the requirements of life… As long as he remains isolated and does not mingle in the society of men, he cannot live at all comfortably and well while lacking so many necessary and useful things. An aid and remedy for this state of affairs is offered him in symbiotic life. He is led, and almost impelled, to embrace it if he wants to live comfortably and well, even if he merely wants to live.
Good stuff, despite my contemn of Calvin and his lot.
Politics is the art of living together.
How dreadfully we fail a high calling in Oudtshoorn.
The scrap has become risible but for goss and malevolence.
Here is the Oudtshoorn reality.
For the considerable future about half of Oudtshoorn would vote DA aligned in protest of the ANC; and half ANC alligned in protest of the DA. People in Oudtshoorn vote not for something, but against something. Generally.
Therefore the 2011 result was 11 ANC; 11 DA; 1 Cope; 1 Icosa; and 1 NPP.
The claim of the veritable dr David Piedt, asking, this Monday last, for a mandate to participate in the 2016 local government elections, targeting 70% of the vote is therefore demonstrably naïve.
A political grouping of the people for the people is to be welcomed and promoted.
Currently we have 12 representatives of the people of Oudtshoorn answering to the Marks Building in Cape Town; 10 answering to some convocation answering to Luthuli House; 1 answering to whomever runs Cope; 1 answering to Hout Bay; and 1 answering to Ladismith.
No one councillor in the Oudtshoorn council answers to the people of Oudtshoorn.
I am told that foremeost agricultural leader Saag Jonker told the meeting at Aurial College, called by Piedt and Messrs Bennie de Wet and Manuel Santie, that he would not hire any one of the DA councillors.
Of the other half in council none was said.
As long as the third tier of government is subject to party politics, the money and influence of the DA and the ANC will deliver the vast majority of councillors.The best Oudtshoorn can hope for is the balance of power in the hands of two or three independent councillors not controlled by DA or ANC power structures.
Such independents should subscribe to a recall contract, such as I promoted in Bitou Ward 2 last December – an initiative fiercely opposed by the DA and one I fear the ANC would not have warmed to had it fielded a candidate in the race.
Neither the DA leadership nor the ANC leadership want Oudtshoorn at this time.
The ANC’s devil-may-care approach in the August 7 by-elections squalls to the point.
The DA’s pathetic legal campaign to gain control of a council it violated repeatedly since May 31 shrieks to the point.
The two wards retained by the ANC on August 7 was won by the efforts of Icosa and the NPP. The ward lost by the ANC, rather than won by the DA, was the result of internal sapping.
At this time there are councillors and their hangers-on roaming the nooks and crannies of Verwoerd Square demanding alms. Money for bread, please. Money for electricity, please. A job for my son, please. Functionaries hedging against a change in power oblige.
Nee wragtag, en ek dag ek het als gehoor.
The State of Denmark is rotten.
There are a few outstanding officials in our municipality, I’ll have you know.
A “senior statesman” of Oudtshoorn once told me that a town can be run with useless councillors as long as there are one or two able functionaries. Oudtshoorn has such men and women.
What is required is stability in the council. That should be introduced within days when judgment in MacPherson v. Stoffels is delivered.
The judgment is not expected to result in a soon change of government, whichever way His Lordship rules.
The judgment should, however, bring the horsetrading to some finis.
And also force decisions on the fate of the 10 DA councillors and their Cope sidekick who unsuccessfully attempted to con ratepayers out of some R4.5m with the ill-conceived, dreadfullly executed, and poorly explained Nel v Oudtshoorn “settlement”.
Some semblance of stability should present itself.
And then the by-elections will follow.
DA Western Cape Chair Anton Bredell speaks of two by-elections.
I suspect he is referring to ward 2 (Pierre Nel) and ward 7 (Peter Roberts) where vacancies will follow disciplinary steps by the party’s Fedex.
Ward 2 will make for some political pyrotechnics!
The DA, of course, simply has to contest its ward.
Pierre Nel will doubtlessly stand as an independent. After all, he owns the ward.
Dr Piedt’s grouping has just asked for a mandate… they can hardly not participate in the run to 2016.
In such fertile circumstances a fourth horse of dusky hue may contrive to run as well.
I suspect two more wards will fall vacant as pecuniary pinch becomes unbearable.
But even in such circumstances of robust democracy, Oudtshoorn should prevail.
There are, at least, those few functionaries who can carry the day.
Well, we’ll see.
For the time being the meeting between Western Cape DA mayors; Cope councillors; and DA and Cope leaders is scheduled for Thursday.
Poor Theuns Botha has a job on his hands to be sure!
He has to convince Cope councillors to stick with the DA… AND explain why the DA does not want Cope’s support for its mayor in Eden!
Maybe Theuns will simply “declare victory” as he did in Oudtshoorn on May 31. No wonder the poor chap has never shown his face since.
After this meeting Botha, and probably poster boy Ivan Meyer and some other DA leaders, have a little surprise for us all.
I’ll tell ya’all all about it tomorrow.
Can we all live together in Oudtshoorn!?
Source: Dr John Coffey
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