Comeback kids of the August poll

Political comebacks abound for the August 3 municipal elections, which, in some cases, will pit former comrades against each other.

This is the case with former DA councillors Jefrey “Jeff” van Wyk and Freddie Kearns, who have both found new political homes in the Freedom Front Plus (FF +) and the EFF, respectively. The duo are candidates in Ward 25 (Connaught, Cravenby, Eureka, Florida, Ravensmead, Uitsig) – Mr Van Wyk for the FF + and Mr Kearns for the EFF.

Mr Kearns’ arrival at the EFF came via a brief stint with the Patriotic Alliance, founded by former convicts Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie.

Mr Kearns, who lives in Ravensmead, is a former chairman of Sub-council 4, in Parow, and is the brother-in-law of Community Safety MEC Dan Plato.

He resigned from the DA, and his seat in council in March 2014, citing the money used for the City of Cape Town’s new logo and rebranding as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I was tired of the lies of the DA. We never had any prior notice of the new logo. I could not vote for something like that. Why do we have to waste money? The mountain is synonymous with Cape Town,” he said.

A March 2014 post on the Patriotic Alliance website said: “His years of experience, political credibility and vision for a Cape Town free of the scourge of gangsterism will only help to further the Patriotic Alliance’s growth.”

But Mr Kearns said he had never joined that party, but merely “helped” them.

He said the EFF approached him, and, after scrutinising their constitution and mission, he joined, raising concerns about housing and job opportunities which he wants the party to place more emphasis on. But, he said, should the party fail to deal with issues faced by coloured people, he would turn his back on it “tomorrow”. He said it “pains” him to see the decay in communities, and he believes the EFF can make a difference.

“The party can make a change in our communities. Look at the poverty, the squatter camps, the hunger. If the EFF sticks to its word, there could be a change,” he said.

He describes the position of coloured people as “the piece of polony between the bread”.

He believes the EFF could gain 25 seats in the City of Cape Town, and could be the kingmaker should coalitions be formed.

“The EFF achieved in 18 months, what the DA failed to do in 10 years,” he said, referring to Julius Malema’s campaign in Parliament to get President Jacob Zuma to account for the costs of upgrades to his Nkandla home.

For his part, Jeff van Wyk, of Parow Valley, did not return to political office after the 2011 municipal elections. Mayco member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg became councillor for Ward 10 (including parts of Bellville, Klipkop, Oosterzee, Parow, Sanlamhof, Tygerberg Hospital), in his place. He’s also contesting wards 10 and 6.

As for his choice to join the FF +, previously concerned with issues affecting Afrikaner people, Mr Van Wyk said there were common values, and the party had grown to be more representative.

“We have language and religion, which coloured and white people share,” he said. Mr Van Wyk met FF + leader Corné Mulder in 2012, while trying to achieve co-operation between different groups representing coloured people. He believes the FF + could be the “political vehicle” which could work on the issues facing coloured people, such as housing and education.

“The FF + is consistent. They’re not going to say one thing this year and next year something else.”

And he believes communities where the party previously had no presence, were open to supporting them. The FF + currently has one councillor in the City of Cape Town. Like Mr Kearns, he believes an outright majority for the ruling DA, is not going to happen. While discussions would be held by the party leadership after the August elections, he said the FF + would be open to coalitions, but not with the ANC.

“The Freedom Front will not have a race-based election campaign. It is run on core values. This is what pulls coloured and black people, who are moving to the party in numbers,” he said.

In the 2011 municipal elections, the DA gained 83.90 percent of the votes in Ward 25. It will field candidate Beverley van Reenen in this ward. The FF + had 0.04 percent of the votes. This will be the first time the EFF contests municipal elections.

* Another candidate who appears to make a comeback is retired DA member of Parliament and Goodwood resident, Willem Doman, who now appears at number 42 on the party’s proportional representation (PR) list.