Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape leader of the DA, led a protest march in Oudtshoorn yesterday. This is the press release he issued thereafter:
Today I, along with hundreds of DA-supporters and other concerned residents, marched to the municipal offices in Oudtshoorn to demonstrate our concern for the state of democracy here.
For longer than a year, the ANC/Icosa/NPP alliance have fiercely and undemocratically clung to power in Oudtshoorn, despite the fact that the DA won a by-election in August last year which gave us control of the Oudtshoorn council.
Today the people of Oudsthoorn said enough is enough. Residents of the greater Oudtshoorn are sick and tired of the ANC’s blatant disregard for democracy and the rule of law as well as corruption and mismanagement in this town.
Today, at the municipal buildings, I handed a memorandum (attached) to the mayor, Gordon April, listing examples of gross mismanagement in Oudtshoorn as well as the dirty tricks, employed by the ANC to stay in power here. These include:
- Oudtshoorn has a debt of more than R100 million, outstanding for longer than 90 days.
- According to the Auditor General, Oudtshoorn has wasted R9.3 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
- The ANC-controlled municipality increased property rates with 14%. It is the highest ever increase in the country.
- Since November last year, no standing committee meetings have taken place and this year no mayoral committee meetings.
- Many senior positions have been filled without following the prescribed processes. Senior members of Icosa and the NPP were given jobs. The Mayor illegally appointed Drewan Baird, whose convictions include 5 charges of fraud (for which he was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment or a R50 000 fine) as his personal adviser at an astronomical salary. Baird has already received more than R1 million in payments – out of the pockets of the taxpayers.
The ANC in Oudtshoorn will attempt to cling to power until the local elections of 2016 when, through more underhanded tactics, they will attempt to win the majority of the vote. That is why today the local DA constituency handed to me the official request to place the municipality of Oudtshoorn under administration. I will take this request to the Western Cape government.
The assault on democracy in this town not only poses a threat to Oudtshoorn, but to the whole of South Africa. A fundamental feature of democracy, is that it is a system of government in which a country’s political leaders are chosen by the people in regular, free, and fair elections. The by-election on 7 August last year, was free and fair. Yet, the ANC refuses to relinquish power and insist on staying in office while the people of Oudtshoorn have voted them out.
Today we called on the ANC/NNP/Icosa-alliance to restore democracy in Oudtshoorn. That is what the residents of Oudtshoorn voted for. That is what they deserve.