Cape Town City Council: One Jew down, for now

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Appearing in a ‘new’ seat at Thursday’s Cape Town City Council meeting will be councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe – who has changed colours from the ANC to the DA. This is not as simple as it sounds in the post-floor-crossing era – and an interesting local government situation which was only enabled by Jewish councillor Errol Anstey’s volunteering his PR seat as a DA member for the remaining three months of the sitting. Read more to find out why…
by ANT KATZ | Apr 26, 2016

Cape Town City Councillor Errol Anstey has stood aside for the sake of his party in an interesting exercise which has been required by the scrapping around seven years ago of so-called “floor crossing” rules.

This was precipitated by the desire of councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe who had been negotiating to change parties - from the ANC to the DA - for some time. To facilitate this, the DA had to make an existing seat available – and not just any seat, it had to be a Proportional Representation (PR) seat as against a Ward seat.

Anstey ErrolWhen a Ward councillor resigns, it triggers a by-election – but with the local election date having been announced, that would not have happened. When a PR councillor resigns, the political party that nominated them simply nominates a new councillor.

RIGHT: Errol Anstey has made way for an important change

“Mzwakhe Nqavashe is a very effective councillor and will be an asset to the DA,” Anstey told Jewish Report. “I informed our Metro Chair that I was willing to make my PR seat available to anyone of quality that wishes to cross over to the DA before the election, at the time I had no idea who was considering such a move” Anstey said. He says he has seen that Nqavashe is a “good and hard-working councillor and very active on the City’s safety portfolio.” 

“It was a pleasure to help us to get him to come in on a DA ticket,” says Anstey. There is little doubt, say pundits, that Anstey will return to Council after the August elections. For his part, however, Anstey is reticent to say, but he is campaigning for his party with gusto. Most pundits have the DA taking the Metro with an increased majority.

Anstey has been a tireless Jewish communal worker and long-serving member of both the Cape SA Zionist Fed and the IUA where he served on the NEC as well.

In 2000 Anstey was asked as an ex-Habo to consider becoming involved with the management of the Habonim movement. He agreed, and for the last 16 years he has been their Manhig (national Trustee).

  • Previously, there were regular “floor crossing” periods which allowed city and town councillors to literally change their colours and take their seat with them. This is now outlawed, so by changing party the councillor leaves their seat behind. 


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