Ward 1 DA Councillor, Levael Davis (pictured above), may well be vacating his post as Executive Mayor of Knysna today (31 August), along with his deputy Mark Willemse (KIM), Council Speaker Julie Lopes (DA) and Council Whip Hilton Stroebel (DA), after the Knysna Council meets to vote on four ‘Motions of No Confidence’ (MONCs) in a special council meeting.
The MONCs were delivered to the Council Speaker on 22 August by members of the ANC / PBI / PA coalition, along with a letter requesting that a Special Council Meeting be held to consider the removal of the four Executive Councillors. Whilst ‘MONC’s against executive members of the DA / KIM ruling coalition have been proposed before during this council’s term of office, none has been successful.
This time, however, the request was signed by the majority of Knysna’s councillors (eleven out of twenty-one) which infers that all four motivations will probably succeed. Of particular note is the inclusion of the signature of EFF Councillor Neil Louw, whose single vote will swing the decision in the ANC coalition’s favour. Previously, in decisions such as these, this councillor has either abstained or voted on the side of the DA coalition following the EFF’s claim at a national level that they would not work with the ANC.
In letters submitted by ANC Councillors Tsengwa and Matika for the removal of Mayor Davis and Deputy Mayor Willemse, respectively, both cited ‘failing to provide leadership’ as their motivation, whilst Councillor Charlie (PA) claimed in her motivation to remove Speaker Lopes, that she had ‘on numerous occasions failed to act impartially’. Council Whip Stroebel was accused of ‘failing to exercise his duties’ in ANC’s Kay Andrews’ motivation letter for his removal. All motions were requested to be served on the 31 August 2022 Council Agenda.
Should these MONCs result in the removal of these office bearers, voting will take place at the same meeting to fill the newly vacant positions.
When asked for comment, Executive Mayor and Sedgefield’s Ward 1 Councillor Davis was clearly frustrated by this political upheaval and the effect he believed it would have on the council’s momentum should the motions be carried.
“I will most certainly be very disappointed if this happens. There are so many innovative plans we have for Knysna. In this short space of time in office, we have built positivity, formed great partnerships, and have been able to introduce incremental changes that have enhanced Greater Knysna. Should we lose this vote, we will commit to being an effective opposition and continue the fight for freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.”