It’s important to remember that political power struggles are rarely in the best interests of the public. Too often they seem to benefit individuals or national battle plans so it’s not odd that the fate of Bitou Municipality (Plettenberg Bay) may rest in the hands of a politician far away.
Firstly, we need to consider where Adam Van Rhyner, Bitou’s COPE councillor, and his all-powerful, Kingmaker position stand.
He is a PR Councillor rather than a Ward Councillor. Common assumption is that he gained the Deputy Mayor’s position in return for voting with the DA. Nationally, there’s a cooperation deal made between party leaders Helen Zille (DA) and Mosiuoa Lekota (COPE).
Can COPE recall Adam van Rhyner and stop the takeover? The answer is, “YES.” But that’s not that simple and will be discussed further in the next blog.
This situation is reminiscent of the standoff the ANC has with the DA in Oudtshoorn. There, however, the ANC has clung to power even though, theoretically, the DA should have been in office a year ago. Hopefully the taxpayer will not suffer the quagmire their counterparts have experienced there.
Undoubtedly high-ups in the DA have already raced to Plettenberg Bay, an interesting first challenge to Theuns Botha, who has replaced Alan Winde as the representative for Eden District. He is, however, no stranger to Plettenberg Bay, having previously accused the ANC of bribing a DA councillor to their side.
It will be fascinating to discover what Lekota decides and how all this plays out.