Cape Town Mayoral Committee for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Grant Pascoe defects to ANC, loses portfolio with immediate effect!


Cape Town StadiumWhat excellent news it was to see on Twitter yesterday afternoon that now former Councillor Grant Pascoe has defected to the ANC for ‘personal reasons’, a decision Mayor Patricia de Lille (who appeared to be a close friend), said caught her by surprise.  She announced that he has been stripped of his position as Councillor and as Mayoral Committee member of Tourism, Events, and Marketing with immediate effect.   We have been very critical of Pascoe’s lack of marketing knowledge and leadership, once again leaving our City’s tourism industry without a marketing plan for the forthcoming winter, which kicked in earlier than usual last week!

The announcement was made by the ANC, and not by Pascoe himself.  The political party said: ‘Councillor Pascoe joins an overwhelming number of South Africans, who despite finding themselves in other political parties, recognise the ANC as the only organisation with the track record, capacity, and determination to build a South Africa’.  Pascoe explained that he was unhappy with the direction which the DA was taking, and had discussed this internally.  To avoid a fight, he decided to leave. He said he feels ‘at home‘ in the ANC, EWN reported! Yet on Pascoe’s Facebook page for his ‘political organisation‘, his ‘About Grant Pascoe’ still states: ‘The Democratic Alliance is South Africa and Cape Town’s best hope for a better future for all our people‘!

Pascoe served as a City of Cape Town DA Councillor for 13 years, and as a Mayoral Committee member for eight years, the last four of which were heading up the Tourism, Events, and Marketing portfolio.  Two years ago he initiated the creation of a Tourism, Events and Marketing directorate, which reported to him and is headed up by Anton Groenewald.  Pascoe’s sole contribution was to bring soccer events to Cape Town, which made no impact on the tourism industry in terms of bookings, reflecting his personal interest in soccer.   From the outset we have criticised Pascoe’s incompetence in the Tourism portfolio:

*   poor manners in not replying to e-mails or Tweets, nor returning phone calls, when we questioned why  Australian marketing consultant Ian Macfarlane had been appointed by Cape Town Tourism

*   Tweeting and Facebooking incessantly during the day, one wondering when he ever spent time on Council duties, and Retweeting defamatory Tweets, without regard of the legal implications.

*   cut the funding of one the City’s top events, the Design Indaba, in 2011, and had to reinstate it after a public outcry.

*   caused the loss of the Saracens versus Biarritz Heineken Cup match for Cape Town in 2011, in not being able to organise a stadium for it.

*   suffered the embarrassment of having the Liverpool versus Ajax match cancelled last year!

*   cut the funding of Cape Town Tourism by R8 million in 2012, so that he could set up his own Tourism Directorate!

*   reneged on a three year funding contract between his Directorate and Cape Town Tourism last year, just as Enver Duminy took over as CEO.

*   had to suffer the indignation of a forensic investigation and removal of his and staff computers in November last year, due to alleged tender irregularities, we suspect due to internal politics regarding the new City of Cape Town logo!

*   was part of a wasteful ten-member City of Cape Town funded ‘holiday trip’ to Turkey in 2012!

*   severely annoyed the Cape Town port authority when he criticised the poor cruise liner facilities two years ago.

*   has not yet managed to make a going concern of the Cape Town Stadium in the past four years!

*   lost the hosting of the AFCON tournament for Cape Town last year!

*   Hosted the African Nations Championship (CHAN 2014) in Cape Town earlier this year, without any tourism benefit!

*   Increasingly became ego-driven, demanding that he be quoted as the spokesperson of Cape Town Tourism in preference to its then CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold in the tourism body’s media releases!

Mayor de Lille appeared shocked at the sudden defection by Pascoe, and reacted with a sharp attack againstCity of Cape Town De Lille and Pascoe Pascoe, saying that she would have fired him in May when she is reconstituting her Mayoral Committee.  Her detailed media statement is as follows:

I have just learned that the Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing (TEAM), Councillor Grant Pascoe, has changed his political affiliation from the Democratic Alliance (DA) to the African National Congress (ANC). As he has chosen to take this action before doing me the courtesy of informing me, I can only assume that he has chosen to find a new political home due to his inability to live up to the standards required of DA public representatives.  His performance has included the following:

  • He frequently did not attend meetings of the City’s political and administrative leadership
  • For those meetings he did attend, his preparation was poor to non-existent, resulting in his inability to contribute in any meaningful way
  • His political management of the TEAM directorate was exceptionally poor
  • He had no concept of the City’s strategic framework or policy direction
  • He had no understanding or interest in City processes, such as supply chain or budget procedures
  • He had no meaningful contributions to make about his constituency in Mitchells Plain

The May 2014 elections will result in the strong possibility that several Mayoral Committee Members would need to be replaced upon moving to either the national or provincial parliaments. This would have meant an opportunity for a Mayoral Committee reshuffle, at which time it was my intention to dismiss Cllr. Pascoe. His appraisals in the Mayoral dashboard system and the numerous queries against his performance as the oversight authority over TEAM suggest to me that he was aware that action was about to be taken against his sub-par performance and that he has acted accordingly.  It is of interest to me that Cllr. Pascoe has chosen to join the ANC. In response to the ANC’s position on Employment Equity, Mr. Pascoe released a statement on 24 February, 2011 in which he said:  ‘The bottom line is this: there is no such thing as too many coloureds (or whites, or Indians, or blacks)! There are only South Africans. The ANC must stop its obsession with race, and start focusing on creating opportunities – especially for the poor – so that all our people are able to improve their lives.’
In light of the above, it is difficult to see anything beyond naked opportunism in such a once strident critic of the ANC so quickly joining them. I certainly hope that any future constituents of Cllr. Pascoe’s remember his points of principle, or lack thereof. Cllr. Pascoe will be formally informed that he is immediately dismissed from the Mayoral Committee. All other party procedures will be handled by the relevant DA structures‘.

The question for the Tourism industry in Cape Town is who will step into Pascoe’s shoes as the Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing!  Potential candidates could be Councillor Bev Schafer, who represents Sea Point, Green Point, Fresnaye, and part of Camps Bay,  the ‘white elephant’ Cape Town Stadium falling within her constituency;  and Felicity Purchase, who has held this position in the past.  Interesting is a collection of Councillors who sit on the Tourism, Events, and Marketing Portfolio Committee, who one has never heard of before in the Tourism industry, including Councillors Hoorn (Chairman), Crous (Deputy Chairman), Abrahams, Cavanagh, Claasen, Timm, and Vos, and Michael Britz!

One person I spoke to yesterday was succinct in her summation of the defection of Pascoe: while he was a DA Councillor he was above reproach, despite the industry criticism over the past four years, yet now that he has defected to the ANC he was not good at anything and would have been fired!  This may say more about the DA and the management of its Councillors than it does about Pascoe and his defection!  Reaction to the defection spread like wildfire on Twitter, and most comments were negative towards Pascoe, and soon he was trending on Twitter!   Funny but succinct were the Tweets by journalist Murray Williams about the Mayor’s allegations against Pascoe, asking after each allegation why she did not fire Pascoe, a very good question, if one considers how he damaged the tourism industry in Cape Town, and how useless he was at his job!  Every time the head of a Tourism department changes in the Western Cape or in the City of Cape Town, tourism takes a few steps back!

POSTSCRIPT 8/4:  Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the Tourism, Events and Marketing Directorate of the City of Cape Town, has replied to our question of who is heading the Tourism portfolio now, as follows: ‘Deputy Mayor – Alderman Ian Neilson is the Acting Mayco Member for the portfolio’.

POSTSCRIPT 8/4:   The Cape Argus  devoted its front page to the Pascoe story today, quoting him as saying ‘I’ve had it with the DA’!   The Facebook page for Grant Pascoe Political Organisation still exists, praising the DA as the ‘best hope for a better future‘! His Twitter Bio merely describes him as a Manchester United fan, which says it all!  Funny is that he still has a link to the City of Cape Town’s website in the Bio.  Pascoe twice stood for Mayor of Cape Town, but missed out to Dan Plato in 2009, and to Patricia de Lille in 2011!  Pascoe has deleted all his Tweets which attacked President Zuma and the ANC in the past week, but they are still visible because they were retweeted by his Followers, including:

‘@GrantPascoe Must be difficult being an ANC member nowadays and canvassing for votes in poor areas’ 

‘@GrantPascoe Enough deception of SAns. Zuma must be impeached. Retweet and say enough to ANC corruption in 2014’!

‘@GrantPascoe If ANC recalled the President today will it change way the organization is perceived after all years of rot?’!

‘@GrantPascoe Will the #Nkandla scandal result in ANC dropping under 60%?’

His unprofessionalism comes through in the only Tweet he childishly Tweeted since yesterday:Grant Pascoe ‏@Grantpascoe  Quite enjoyed reading all your tweets, thanks for the mentions ya’ll’.

POSTSCRIPT 8/4:  Pascoe went out with a final PR plug in the Cape Times on Monday, having ‘written’ an article about the Tourism successes Cape Town has achieved in the past five years (roughly the period over which tourism was under his control), and how important World Design Capital 2014 is for Cape Town.  Cynically one could say that Pascoe deliberately had his last PR blast organised by the City of Cape Town, on the day on which he defected to the ANC and left the employ of the City of Cape Town!

POSTSCRIPT 10/4:  The ANC and DA are having words about the DA’s claim that Pascoe’s defection was ‘bought’ by the ANC at a price tag of R1 million plus a car.  The ANC is threatening to take the DA to court, which the party welcomes, as it says it has evidence of other high-ranking DA members having been made offers by the ANC!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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6 replies on “Cape Town Mayoral Committee for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Grant Pascoe defects to ANC, loses portfolio with immediate effect!”

  1. Come on Patricia. If he was as bad as you claim, why slate the guy now after he has defected? Why was he just not fired earlier? Is the DA harboring more incompetents just like the ANC?

    • Good question Dave.

      Pascoe couldn’t be fired, as he was an elected Councillor. She could have demoted him from the Mayoral Committee, but they were close, as far as I could see, Pascoe being very good at winning by-elections in Cape Town for the DA.

      He cost the City of Cape Town and its ratepayers a lot of money, and we have yet to see any sign of his (ex) Directorate’s work in marketing Cape Town!

    • I am not sure what it takes to be an ‘ANC Comrade’, but I sure am happy that he no longer has anything to do with Tourism for Cape Town!

  2. Pascoe was useless as Tony Leon’s parliamentary counsellor all those years ago. Why he was never fired then was a mystery to me. Since then he’s been a consistently useless councillor, consistently rewarded with high office by the DA. Quite how or why he was made a member of the Mayoral Committee (better inside pissing out?) when there are so many more worthy DA public reps is beyond me. He’s been kept on while his portfolio and Cape Town’s tourism bodies have suffered. Why has he been protected for so long? Both Patricia and Helen have much explaining to do.

    And then why insult someone who leaves the DA for the ANC, calling them names like “trailer trash” and insinnuate that they were defective, yet when MF councillors defect (from, arguably, the most ineffective, nasty, racist and democratically corrupt party) to the DA, they are praised and welcomed with open arms? They can’t have it both ways. Best to say nothing at all.

    • Having been a Facebook friend of Pascoe for most of the time of his Tourism tenure (I was ex-communicated when I became too vocal) I could see his self-congratulatory posts about winning by-elections for the DA, which were managed by him.

      Funny is how he has slated Zuma and the ANC just a few days before his defection, making him a total chameleon and opportunist!

      Interesting will be the interaction between Pascoe and Tony Ehrenreich, the latter seeming to think he is the spokesperson for all Cape Flats residents! Both don’t like competition, even if they now belong to the same party.

      One wonders what he will live from, as he cannot stand for this election, not being on the ANC list. Go back to being a lay preacher?

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