Loyiso Nkohla talks to mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: TIMES LIVE
Loyiso Nkohla talks to mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: TIMES LIVE

WHEN the ANC actually fires someone, you pay attention. So disinclined is the party ever to take meaningful action against its many and various ethical offenders that when it does, you know they must have messed up, big time.

In the case of Loyiso Nkohla, it was for distributing human excrement around the metro in 2013, among other deplorable things (most of which revolved around an explicit plan to make the city "ungovernable"). And the list is fairly extensive, inciting violence, rampaging through the CBD, land invasions, looting, damage to property and just a general disdain for the rule of law.

In expelling Nkohla from the party in 2014, the ANC’s disciplinary committee found: "The charges on which the respondents had been found guilty are of a very serious nature as it involves insubordination, insolent conduct and, very likely, criminality."

That is the kind of no-nonsense language those who still hold out for an ANC reawaking dream about. It is, what they call in the business, evidence of a bottom line. And Nkohla found it. Remarkable.

More remarkable still, the ANC was right. The courts agreed. In 2015, Nkohla was found guilty of contravening the Civil Aviation Act when he, along with members of the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement, dumped human waste at Cape Town International Airport. They were sentenced to 36 months in jail, suspended for five years.

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BUT it got worse for Nkohla. He would be fired as a councillor. There are lines you can cross in the ANC, its members cross them all the time, so when it actually fires someone, you know they didn’t cross it so much as charge headfirst a good few kilometres deep into the red.

Now, when a DA-run government hires the very same person, you really do sit up and pay attention. The DA, the bastion of best ethical practice, defender of merit, legal champion of "fit and proper" appointments — what in the name of all that is principled is the party doing?

This weekend City Press reported the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, had appointed Nkohla as an executive support officer in his department, at a salary of R701 960 per year (Top DA job for poo thrower).

And guess who the City emulated in "explaining" the decision? That’s right, the ANC. Zero attempt to justify the decision in any meaningful way. Just a raft of the kind of technical, meaningless jargon the ANC churns out when faced with a similar kind of contradiction.

"Spokesperson for the City of Cape Town Priya Reddy confirmed that Nkohla was a political appointee and that political appointments are made at the discretion of the office bearer, with the political knowledge of the incumbent highly prioritised," City Press reported.

Put another way: This is a political appointment, and that’s all we have to say. Well, if it is political, the buck stops at the top. And Patricia de Lille currently occupies that spot, as mayor and Western Cape provincial leader.

There was one quotable quote, however: "His experience gained as a councillor also stands him in good stead," said Reddy.

Is that a fact? And which experience is that exactly? The one where he was fired? Or the one where he was found guilty by the courts? Or perhaps the one when he generally violated his oath of office from sun up to sun down?

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WESTERN Cape premier and former DA leader Helen Zille has had a fair bit to say about the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement. She has, in numerous newsletters and articles, gone into great detail about how it was explicitly established and run, primarily under the leadership of Nkohla and Andile Lili, to wreak havoc in Cape Town as part of a political agenda to undermine the DA government.

There is so much evidence of Nkohla’s particular brand of wanton chaos in Zille’s writings they alone would suffice as a devastating collective affidavit. Someone should ask her what she makes of all of this. Every story on Nkohla’s new-found love for all things democratic has been marked by the noticeable absence of any comment from Zille. If anyone can get her to unclench her teeth on the subject, you can be fairly certain what comes out will not be pretty.

The DA has had its fair share to say on the subject. DA spokesman for human settlements Makashule Gana said, "The politics of Ses’Khona both creates and feeds off human suffering", before calling on the SAPS to "act quickly to bring these criminals [Nkohla and Lili] and to justice".

"Like vampires they have fed and profited off the plight of the vulnerable and should face nothing less than the full might of the law," he said.

The City of Cape Town historically has wasted no time venting its own hostility towards Ses’Khona, via no less than Sonnenberg himself. Consider this opening to a 2014 statement from him: "The Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement is run by ANC Youth League members and expelled City of Cape Town councillors Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla. They are not a civil society movement but an ANC organisation that is encouraged in its lawlessness by top leaders, most recently minister Angie Motshekga and a few weeks ago by Bheki Cele."

The same person would have us now believe, out of the entire Cape Town population, Nkohla is the best man for the job. He is, in that phrase that the DA has poured millions of rand into defending in the courts, from Menzi Simelane to Hlaudi Motsoeneng, a "fit and proper" person. Utter bullshit.

Loyiso Nkohla’s conduct has been disgraceful. He has violated the law, overseen damage to public property, diverted resources away from delivery, sewn discontent and havoc, demonstrated disdain for the public good and generally behaved like an appalling child.

Most importantly, he has shown not an ounce of contrition. At every turn, despite the raft of findings against him, party political and legal alike, he has demonstrated no remorse. Unrepentant, arrogant and destructive, we are now to believe he is best placed to serve the people he has cost so much. Indeed, that the people should pay him!

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THERE  is just one plausible way: He doesn’t take a salary for five years as a penance. He owes the City of Cape Town and its citizens that much at least.

The politics behind the decision is easy enough to identify. No doubt the DA figures it is better to have Nkohla on the inside pissing out, rather than vice versa. In the run-up to the election, after Nkohla inevitably parted ways with the ANC, the DA was waiting with open arms to embrace him.

De Lille said at the time: "Mr Nkohla has come to recognise the major progress the DA-run City of Cape Town has made in providing sanitation to poor communities across the city. His endorsement is a reflection of this."

Taking Nkohla on board grates as it is, but to give him a job? If that isn’t the bottom line, what is?

Why does the DA do this? AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo comes to mind. The DA has these moments of expediency. Its bottom line becomes a blur. And, in them, it becomes the very thing it opposes. Governments the world over will tell you "we don’t negotiate with terrorists". Nkohla might not be a terrorist, but he is no saint. Given the DA’s decision, it is he who has now won his battle with the city, six-love, not the DA. Through sheer destructive force, he has wangled a public salary out of the DA. He held the city hostage, and it gave him what he wanted. The "vampire" can now drink his fill.

You see, there are two lessons here: The one the DA hopes will be learnt is that even the most delinquent child will come around one day, but it pales in weight and impact to the other lesson — the DA administration in Cape Town will now accommodate criminals.

Even if you want to play the expediency game, the DA doesn’t need Nkohla. It has no real opposition in Cape Town. The ANC has imploded there. In fact, the DA secured a two-thirds majority on election day. And if it thinks it did that on the back of decisions like the Nkohla defection, it is delusional. Or disturbingly insecure. This decision was entirely gratuitous.

The man may be a menace, but ultimately he is his own worst enemy. Indeed, of his own volition, he destroyed the very movement that was designed to do all the destroying. Why rescue him from oblivion?

It is a shameful decision and a blight upon the city’s track record of good governance and clean, ethical administration. These sorts of marks are fairly indelible. Like one spot on a clean sheet. When held up, it’s not the sheet you notice, your eye is drawn almost immediately to the stain. Just mention "Dalindyebo" to a DA supporter and watch them wince.

James Selfe, the DA chairman of the party’s federal council, the man who has dedicated so much time and effort setting legal precedents about the requirements for public office, must be choking on his court papers. Who exactly is the DA now to tell us Hlaudi Motsoeneng is unfit for public office if, by its own standards, Nkohla qualifies?

How the worm turns.

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WHEN  Nkohla was found guilty in court, the DA issued a statement that read: "The court judgment confirmed that there is no place for gutter politics as practised by the ANC."

But there is a place. The DA now has a gutter of its own.

"The DA calls for a sentence befitting of this crime so as to send a strong message to the offenders that political thuggery will not be tolerated," the statement read.

But it will be tolerated. Embraced even. All it takes is a little time.

It is to the DA’s great credit that these sorts of incidents are so few and far between, when it comes to the governments it runs. But all slippery slopes start with just one misstep. Precedent works that way in politics. The DA in Cape Town has just lowered its own bar several significant notches.

In the big picture, the DA is generally immune to expediency but in politics it is a drug always on offer. The party just took a big hit of the stuff. Let’s hope it doesn’t like the feeling too much.

© BDlive 2016