The ins and out of politics

Chairman Grant Twigg and manager Fred Monk at a Sub-council 2 meeting.

Brackenfell ward councillor Caryn Brynard has resigned from her position after a third term saying she can no longer tolerate mayor Patricia de Lille’s “nepotism, dictatorship” and a “toxic caucus environment”.

Ms Brynard told the Weekend Argus she could not bear being a councillor anymore “because the party does not walk the talk”.

She said: “As a Christian, I no longer feel like I can be in the party because I believe they’re not serving people. I really feel nepotism is the order of the day when it comes to the former Independent Democrats (ID).

“The DA in the City is an environment where councillors are forced into supporting the mayor’s choices in a lot of matters. They don’t have a say anymore.

“They get intimidated like I was when I raised issues she did not agree with.”

Ms De Lille’s spokesperson, Zara Nicholson, called Ms Brynard’s claims “absolute nonsense”.

“After 10 years as a councillor she should know that the mayor does not deal with disciplinary matters, the federal legal commission does,” she said.

Ms Brynard also said the mayor placed former members of the now-defunct ID in strategic and “highly paying” positions, surrounding herself with former ID members, such as the DA chief whip in the city council, Shaun August.

However, Mr August denied that Ms De Lille had done him any favours.

Last year, the DA suspended five ward councillors, including Sub-council 2 chairman Grant Twigg, after they refused to vote for Goodwood councillor Clive Justus to replace Mr Twigg as chairman(“Sub-council chair gets the boot,” Northern News, November 23, 2016).

Ms Brynard, who chaired the safety and security directorate for nine years as councillor, added: “The Clive Justus incident was a very good example of how the City, under De Lille, handles things.

“Justus is a capable councillor, but he is not even from our area. That was power-play from the mayor.”

She said that while councillors had been informed after municipal elections by the council caucus that Mr Twigg would be retained as chairman, City officials had given an order to municipal manager Fred Monk that Mr Justus needed to be voted in as the new chairman.

“And the reason, I think, Grant had to go was because he is outspoken; when things are wrong, he speaks out,” Ms Brynard said.

Mr Twigg, a former ID member, had a falling-out with the party before he joined the DA, and Ms Brynard believes “a vindictive” Ms De Lille is out to get him.

But while Ms Brynard alleges that Mr Twigg is unpopular among some of his former ID peers, his “outspokenness” does not appear to have hurt his political ambitions within the DA.

On Saturday September 16, he beat Mr August to be elected the party’s metro regional chairperson.

Also elected into a regional position on the day was Kuils River councillor Desiree Visagie.

Ms Visagie took the position of metro regional secretary uncontested. “It’s a position that I’ve always wanted,” she said.

“The regional secretary is the link between a region’s members, its activists and its constituents on the ground.”