by Harold McGluwa – DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
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Date: 19 August 2018
The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape notes the continuation of the assault case against the mayor of the Hantam Local Municipality, Roger Swarts, on 20 September 2018.
He is facing charges laid by DA ward councillor, Jeanette Steenkamp, in March this year. During proceedings today in the Calvinia Magistrate’s Court, councillor Steenkamp testified about the mayor’s campaign of victimisation, intimidation and, ultimately, assault against her. We expect other councillors and the mayor to testify when the trial continues in September.
In the meantime, we will be following up in the municipality to determine who is footing the bill for the mayor’s legal fees. After firing his legal representative at his previous appearance in July, he did an about-turn and re-hired the same person to represent him today. The mayor’s legal representative could not, however, clarify to the court if he was taking his instructions to represent the mayor from the mayor in his personal capacity or from the Hantam Local Municipality.
We cannot allow a situation where residents of a cash-strapped town are expected to cough up for the consequences of a bully who runs amok.
Another matter of concern is the mayor’s decision to further victimise councillor Steenkamp through the convening of an ethics committee to probe her conduct. There is a blatant conflict of interest at play, as the mayor’s legal representative will be serving on this committee. The committee is therefore nothing more than just another attempt by the mayor to intimidate councillors from the opposition.
We have faith that the conduct of councillor Steenkamp is beyond reproach. Indeed, it is reprehensible that the mayor abuses his power in an attempt to punish a woman simply for having the guts to stand up for herself and to refuse to be subjected to his bullying.
As the Democratic Alliance, we are committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of women. Throughout this incident, the ANC-led provincial government has shown its indifference to these principles. Instead, they have encouraged and allowed the mayor to abuse female councillors in the municipality as he wishes.
We cannot tolerate or allow a situation where such a bully is kept in power.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
082 440 1779
Northern Cape Provincial Researcher
071 251 5558