The major source of conflict at the inauguration of the Knysna Council was the decision by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to reduce the number of Section 80 committee members from 6 to 5.
Section 80 Committees are where councillors first discuss and vote on issues presented to them. Consequently, it’s important for all parties to be represented as much as possible. If the DA had reduced the members per committee to 5, it’s most likely that the DA would have won all disputes, rendering the opposition ineffective as oversight.
The catch-22 is that the DA would have understandably wanted that power so that they weren’t, again, held in limbo by an undemocratic (African National Congress) ANC walkout.
On August 25, at the second Council meeting, no matter how it was sugar-coated in the spirit of co-operation, the DA were found backtracking into the ANC’s first victory of the new 5-year term.
Members of Section 80 committees will remain at 6.
That this was agreed upon must mean that the DA are hoping that the smaller parties, who voted with them for the Mayor and Speaker positions, will continue to do so.