Initially, the DA looked to be the winners. After all, they had won 1427 more votes than the ANC. Like Knysna, their nearest neighbour, they also falsely announced the win.
BUT THE DA WERE 21 VOTES SHORT of winning a 7th councillor seat which would have given them total control of the town. Instead, Bitou squats with a hung council. Those 21 votes may as well have been thousands because it opened the door for the ANC to form a winning coalition with new party, the Active United Front (AUF), who won 5.36% of the votes.
The AUF are an affiliate to the United Front (UF). The UF is NUMSA’s (National Union of Metalworkers of SA) baby steps into the political arena and, ironically, a dissatisfaction reaction to the ANC.
Liz Mundell, the DA’s election manager in Bitou, said that, “The DA did all they could to negotiate a coalition with the AUF. But the AUF has gone into coalition with the ANC leaving our 6 DA councillors in opposition. This will be a long and difficult 5 years ahead for them and for Bitou. We can only hope and pray for Bitou’s sake that the ANC will not be able to undo the five years of good governance by the DA, taking us backwards again into a corrupt and financially insecure situation. The DA in council will do everything in their power to challenge and expose any illegal action by the ANC run council.”
Mundell ignores that under the DA, there was a major housing scandal and a major electricity scandal (involving dozens of municipal employees). When the municipality got a clean audit, it proved how misleading and useless clean audits are in the Western Cape.
The DA also gave the public and women the middle finger when it failed to effectively address the sexting scandal involving Mayor Memory Booysen. Instead, they kept the matter unresolved and him as their mayoral candidate. That arrogance of putting provincial politics before local politics may have cost them the 21 votes they needed.
Eden District, under which Bitou falls, remains a battleground mostly ignored by national media. Smaller parties and independents are growing out of public frustration – they are the kingmakers. Like Bitou, the municipality’s of Hessequa and Knysna will also be run by coalitions.
It’s rumoured that in return for voting with the ANC, Peter Lobese, from the Active United Front, has been offered the position of Mayor. If so, there’s hope that the sexting scandal will finally be investigated.