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14 Sep 2007 17:31
The Independent Democrats (ID) came out winners on Friday in a last-minute flurry of applications to the Cape High Court by ID defectors to retain their seats.
The party said bids by four former ID local councillors in the Western Cape to keep their seats were rejected by the court with costs.
Two of the four, Aaron Kallie and Abdulla Omar, were members of the Cape Town city council.
The others were Arrie Krotz, former deputy mayor of the Cape Winelands district municipality, and Gilbert Adonis, from Stellenbosch.
The rulings are a blow to the newly formed National People’s Party, which had claimed Kallie, Omar and Krotz—and their seats—as its own.
The floor-crossing window, which closes on Saturday midnight, was also ushered in by a series of court cases involving the ID and would-be defectors.
Earlier on Friday, the high court rejected a bid by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) former Northern Cape deputy leader, Ross Henderson, to keep his seat in the provincial legislature.
However, Henderson said he intended to appeal, and would take his case to the Constitutional Court if necessary.
“I don’t mind if this goes beyond the floor-crossing period. I’m fighting this as a matter of principle,” he said.
“I’m sure the Constitutional court will rule against the DA’s constitution.”
The DA said that under its constitution, Henderson’s membership automatically ended when he was convicted of fraud last year.
The party said it had merely confirmed this to him on the eve of floor-crossing.
However, Henderson told the South African Press Association that the party had long been aware of his conviction, and had initially suspended him, then reversed the suspension.
The conviction related to money allegedly misappropriated from the University of the North West.
Henderson and his two co-accused, who were convicted of theft charges, have yet to be sentenced.
Meanwhile, on Thursday it was reported that the African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape has accused the ID of attempting to lure ANC councillors to cross the floor with job offers.
ANC provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha told a media briefing on Thursday the ANC was in possession of a letter in this regard, signed by ID provincial chairperson Sakkie Jenner.
“The letter is addressed to [Drakenstein] ANC councillor Claudillo du Plessis and offers him the post of executive mayor of the municipality if he crosses to the ID.
“He has rejected the offer and brought the letter to the ANC,” Skwatsha said.
The ANC did not want to get into a mud-slinging match with other parties regarding allegations of “cheque-book politics”.
However, the ANC offered the letter as proof of “what we have known for sometime, namely that the ID is actively approaching ANC councillors with offers of executive positions in return for crossing the floor”.
Skwatsha called on the ID and its leadership to condemn this practice and call its [provincial] chairperson to account for his behaviour.
Responding in a statement later, Jenner—who was sworn in as an MP in the National Assembly on Thursday—said the ID had answered the call of the people of Drakenstein to do everything it could to take power back from the ANC.—Sapa
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