Sub-council chair gets the boot

Ward 7 councillor Grant Twigg, who has served two terms as Sub-council 2 chairman, says he was told by email from the DA’s Clive Justus, that he would replace him as chairman, despite councillors backing Mr Twigg in earlier caucuses.

When the councillors ignored the DA’s decree and rejected Mr Justus, in the vote on Tuesday November 15, the party moved swiftly against them.

It suspended Mr Twigg, Ward 8 councillor Marian Niewoudt, Ward 111 councillor Brenda Hansen, Ward 102 councillor Carin Brynard and proportional representation councillor Xoliswa Pakela-Mapasa.

Mr Twigg said Mr Justus had emailed him the weekend before telling him he would be taking over as chairman, on the authority of DA chief whip Shaun August.

Mr Twigg said that had surprised him given that “a sub-council holds a meeting to elect its chairperson”.

Ms Niewoudt, who is reported to have nominated Mr Twigg, declined to comment, as did Ms Pakela-Mapasa and Siseko Mbandezi, a DA councillor who abstained on the day of the vote and is not part of the suspended group. Ms Hansen was not available for comment.

ANC Ward 101 councillor Luyanda Mbele said the meeting had been tense.

“The mood just wasn’t right,” he said.

The City referred all questions to the DA chief whip’s office.

Anneke Scheepers, DA provincial spokeswoman, said all DA sub-councils had received a mandate on whom to elect ahead of the meeting.

She confirmed that Mr Justus had been the party’s nominee, but a “select number of councillors went against the mandate”.

Ms Scheepers said the party had written to Mr Twigg, Ms Nieuwoudt, Ms Pakela-Mapasa, Ms Hansen and Ms Brynard, requesting written submissions on why they should not be suspended from party meetings and activities.

“Based on these submissions, the caucus executive has decided to suspend all five councillors from caucus activities and meetings with immediate effect and until such time as the allegations have been investigated and any disciplinary process has been concluded,” said Ms Scheepers.

She said the matter would be referred to the DA’s federal executive chairman, James Selfe.

Mr Twigg, in a statement to his constituents, said despite his suspension from DA activities, including last week’s two-day breakaway session, he was still their councillor. “As your ward councillor, I feel obligated to communicate to you and to give clarity on the suspension, which you must have heard through the media about myself and other colleagues. Well, it’s true.”

He can still be contacted at 072 171 1033 or
Mr Justus did not respond to emailed questions and, when contacted again Tuesday November 22, he asked that questions be referred to Mr August.