2 minute read
3 Oct 2014
6:40 pm

Another by-election for Grabouw

Voters in ward 11, Grabouw, in the Western Cape are headed for yet another by-election after it was confirmed on Friday that the DA councillor, Mark Mathews, had resigned.

FILE PICTURE: People cast their vote. Picture: Michel Bega

Theewaterskloof (TWK) mayor Chris Punt said Mathews handed his letter of resignation to the municipal town manager, Stan Wallace. Mathews said in the letter he was resigning because of personal reasons, Punt said.

Grabouw, one of seven towns in the Theewaterskloof Municipality, was hit by violence last month which included the blocking of the N2 national road for three days.

A service delivery protest march to the TWK municipal offices in Grabouw on September 15 led to the stoning of police and spiralled into three days of rioting.

Ward 11 has been a focal point in the battle between the ANC and the DA in the region.

It followed after the DA councillor for the ward, Cathy Booysen-Nefdt, defected to the ANC in 2012 citing racism in the DA caucus as the reason.

However, Punt and Western Cape premier Helen Zille claimed Booysen-Nefdt left after being enticed with offers as part of the ANC’s Project Reclaim to regain control of the province.

Booysen-Nefdt and the ANC lost the subsequent by-election on April 25, 2012 to Mathews after he obtained 1336 votes, to Booysen-Nefdt’s 1233.

A spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission confirmed that they were informed of Mathews’ resignation. Arrangements were now being made for a by-election as soon as possible, said Randall Theunissen, IEC representative in Caledon.

Punt said he hoped the by-election would take place before the end of the year.

The DA is geared for the by-election as it was preparing for the 2016 municipal elections.

Punt denied any link between Mathews’ resignation and last month’s violence. During the violence, police were called in after a large group of DA supporters gathered at the home of Margaret le Roux, Grabouw Civics Organisation secretary.

“They threatened to burn my house down,” said Le Roux, one of the organisers of the protest that led to the violence.

She later claimed that Mathews’ wife, Lucelle, was responsible for the threats. Punt at that stage said that action would be taken if any DA officials were involved.

“I am aware of the fact that Mathews has resigned. However, I do not know what the reasons are. I do know that he has been under severe pressure because of the violence. He has also been suffering from ill-health lately,” Le Roux said.

Mathews was not available for comment.