Hout Bay and Llandudno ward councillor Roberto Quintas was this week named as one of five DA councillors who have a criminal record.
A daily newspaper reported on Tuesday that the DA knew about the councillors’ history before the 2016 municipal elections. Mr Quintas, 40, took office in August 2016.
JP Smith, the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, had brought the matter to the attention of the party’s provincial executive committee, which then presented the information to the DA’s federal executive.
An email from Mr Smith to party leadership in the run-up to the 2016 elections was leaked to the media this week.
Mr Quintas was found guilty of drunk driving in Durban while in his mid-20s. The other councillors on the list are Thulani Dasa (assault), Christopher Jordaan (assault), Steven Vuba (robbery) and George March (drunk driving).
Speaking to the Sentinel this week, Mr Quintas said he had never hidden his record and always disclosed it as required.
“I was charged for the offence in 2005, 13 years ago. SAPS lost the bloods (sample) for years and only in 2012 did they resume the case. I appeared before the magistrate, admitted guilt and paid a fine of R2 000,” he said.
“Between 2005 and 2011, through the Musgrave Methodist Church as well as connections at various schools, I spoke with teenagers and youth on lifestyle choices and how poor decisions can change your life in a heartbeat.”
He said driving drunk had not been his “proudest moment”. “It taught me that no one is above the law – a valuable lesson to learn in your mid- 20s”.
David Untiedt, spokesperson for the Hout Bay Ratepayers’ Association, acknowledged that people could change, but people who were asked to vote should have all the facts in front of them. “The DA should have made people aware of it, and perhaps he should have as well,” Mr Untiedt said.
Mr Smith said it had previously been a legal requirement that councillors could not have a criminal record, but this had been changed by the ANC in 1996. Changes were then made to the Electoral Act.
“There were some aspirant councillors (prior to the 2016 elections) who did not declare their criminal records, but none of these became councill- ors. Rob was one of those who did declare it,” he said.