Cape Town – Infighting within the DA ahead of next year’s local government elections has taken a dramatic turn with mayor Dan Plato making the first move by approving a motion of no confidence against a supporter of his rival for the position of DA metro chairperson, to secure his election and return as mayor should the DA retain the Cape Town metro council.
Plato has approved of a motion of no confidence against Sub-council 3 chairperson Helen Carstens, apparently without the knowledge of the DA caucus. It is understood that Castens is a vocal supporter of current metro chairperson Grant Twigg. Insiders have called the latest move a purge of Twigg supporters.
In a leaked document – a copy of which is the Cape Argus’s possession, four councillors have requested the interim sub-council manager for an urgent special meeting for tomorrow.
“The purpose of the meeting will be to table a motion of no confidence against current chairperson of Sub-council 3,” read the letter.
The four councillors who signed the letter are Joy Solomon, Andrea Crous, Nicky Rheeder and Christiana Groenewoud.
None of them wanted to comment, saying the matter was sub-judice and a party matter.
According to party insiders, charges against Carstens have not been laid with the party’s Federal Legal Council (FLC), a process that should be followed before tabling a no-confidence motion. Castens also hasn’t been formally informed of the matter because she is currently on leave and out of the country.
Asked whether he supported the motion of no-confidence, Plato did not want to comment: “This is a formal council matter and it’s an internal matter which the press is not supposed to know about.”
Carstens was part of the urban management directorate which works with Twigg who is the mayco member for the portfolio.
Twigg said: “I haven’t heard about it. I am aware that Carstens is a vocal supporter of my campaign as metro chairperson but it’s really horrible if someone wants to do something like this.”
Plato announced his bid for the chairperson position in August. He will be going head-to-head with Twigg, who also accepted the nomination.
Several councillors have backed Plato, including Oscar Solomons, who is part of sub-council 12, the southern part of Mitchells Plain, and Fabian Ah-Sing of Ward 55, part of Century City and Lagoon Beach.
Twigg survived a motion of no confidence last year. He was accused of dividing the region and its structures as well as the caucus of the City.
Party members are gearing up for the three regional AGMs across the province. During these a new metro chairperson and new provincial chairperson will be elected.
DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said he found out about the letter on Saturday.
“This was brought to me as a concern and I have constantly told members of the City that they should not damage the brand of the DA and its concerning that the proper processes have not been followed.
“A motion of no confidence should not be entertained and this is extremely mischievous. What I find more concerning is that we don’t know why this motion is brought forward and what the charges are. As a leader I must intervene because it’s my duty and I have to tell the members that there is a process that must be followed.”
DA caucus chairperson Mzuvukile Nikelo said: “We are aware of this letter and we have called for a meeting with the councillors today because there is a process that should be followed. Saying that the mayor signed off on this is completely unacceptable because he does not have that right, so the mayor must explain this.”
The Cape Argus was unable to get a response from Carstens at the time of publication.