Berg River mayor Evert Manuel resigns

Evert Manuel had tendered his resignation before council was to vote on whether he should be removed.

Evert Manuel. Picture: voteda.org

CAPE TOWN - The Berg River mayor has on Wednesday resigned ahead of a special council meeting.

Evert Manuel had tendered his resignation before council was to vote on whether he should be removed. The DA caucus brought forward the motion against him.

Berg River council speaker, Riaan de Vries, has confirmed to EWN Manuel has voluntarily resigned, but did not give reasons for the decision.

Deputy mayor Sandra Crafford will step in as acting mayor until council elects a new mayor.

The ANC's regional secretary in the area Neville Delport says Manuel's decision came as a shock.

“Under the leadership of Manuel as the mayor, this municipality has performed the third best in terms of auditing and everything in the country, and when the DA started the meeting they said he was one of those best-performing mayors.”

Delport says the ANC had questioned why the DA wanted to get rid of its mayor in the first place.

“Is it because of his close relationship with Patricia de Lille or what? And they could not give us an answer.”

Delport adds Manuel has also been given 48 hours to give reasons why his DA membership should not be terminated.

DA RESPONSE

The DA's Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela says former Berg River mayor has 48 hours to give reasons why he shouldn't leave the party.

Madikizela says even though Manuel hasn't yet been found guilty of the serious allegations against him, it was enough for the caucus to lose confidence in him.

“We’ve seen this thing happen every time we approach the election, where the ANC targets certain municipalities, pay them to resign, force a by-election so that they can take over a council. There are allegations that Mr Manuel was involved in that particular arrangement.”

The ANC in the Berg River area has denied offering money to Manuel to get him to join the party, and has instead said the DA wanted him gone because he supports De Lille.

Madikizela has denied this.

“Do you think that the ANC will agree that they are bribing our members? Of course, they will not. There are various reasons why caucuses lose confidence in members. Now, are you going to say to me that the mayor of Matzikama [Rhenda Stephan] has had to submit reasons to the DA’s federal executive committee why she should not resign as mayor after her caucus lost confidence in her also, it’s because she supports De Lille? Are you going to say to me that the deputy mayor of Knysna, that was removed through a motion of no confidence, it’s because she supports De Lille?”

EWN has not been able to get hold of Manuel for comment.