The Democratic Alliance has suspended a Western Cape ward councillor after he handed a letter to a high court judge asking for a lighter sentence for a convicted gang member and killer.
Western Cape DA leader and City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement that Willie Jaftha, ward councillor for Belhar, had been suspended with “immediate effect, in terms of the DA constitution, and has been served with a letter of suspension”.
His suspension comes after he handed a letter to Western Cape High Court Judge Chantel Fortuin appealing for a lighter sentence for Reyaaz Dennis, a member of the 28s gang, who was found guilty with gang boss George “Geweld” Thomas and 15 others on charges ranging from murder to racketeering.
In a letter sent on an official City of Cape Town letterhead, Jaftha confirmed that Dennis lived in Belhar and that he had “never received any complaints from the community about him”.
“He used to attend school with my children and he is a respectful citizen in the ward. I have never received any complains [sic] from the community about him,” Jaftha stated.
Jaftha told News24 on Friday that he has been issued with a letter from the Speaker’s office informing him that he was to appear before a disciplinary committee later this month.
“I will comment on this once those proceedings have been completed,” he said.
But Jaftha had previously told Netwerk24 that he only wrote what a good man Dennis was and that the gang member’s parents approached him asking him to write the letter. “They didn’t tell me what it was about.”
The councillor said he knew about the trial, but did not know that Dennis was one of the killers or that he was guilty.
De Lille said in her statement that the DA “unequivocally distances itself from Councillor Willie Jaftha’s written submissions”.
“The DA believes that convicted gangsters must receive the harshest sentences possible in law.
“It is unacceptable, and unconscionable, for a DA pubic representative to write to the High Court seeking to influence the sentencing of convicted criminals.
“The DA views this in a very serious light, and will pursue all internal means against Councillor Jaftha.”
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