DA ousts Speaker at ‘il­le­gal’ meet­ing

ANC slams move by Stel­len­bosch coun­cil

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - LEILA SAMODIEN

THE SPEAKER of Stel­len­bosch’s mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil has been ousted by the DA in a move the ANC has blasted as “il­le­gal”.

This is the lat­est in a se­ries of events that has spot­lighted the em­bat­tled mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

ANC speaker Gor­don Pheiffer was re­moved from his po­si­tion dur­ing a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing yes­ter­day.

The DA-led coali­tion which seized con­trol of the muni c i p a l i t y from the ANC last month voted out Pheiffer and re­placed him with DA coun­cil­lor Hannes van der Poel.

The mo­tion was pro­posed by Deputy Mayo r Jo­hannes An­drews, who said the coun­cil had no con­fi­dence in Pheiffer.

But, the oc­ca­sion was not without drama.

When the coun­cil meet­ing be­gan, Pheiffer sev­eral times asked for act­ing Mu­nic­i­pal Man­ager Dup­pie du Plessis to leave the meet­ing, which he re­fused to do.

Pheiffer sub­se­quently de­clared that he could not al­low the meet­ing to con­tinue “un­der th­ese cir­cum­stances”, closed the pro­ceed­ings and said the meet­ing would have to be resched­uled.

He walked out, fol­lowed quickly by the coun­cil’s ANC mem­bers.

How­ever, the DA and its al­liance part­ners, which make up the ma­jor­ity of coun­cil, voted for the meet­ing to con­tinue, af­ter which the vote to oust Pheiffer was taken.

This lat­est oc­cur­rence is one of many that has plagued the mu­nic­i­pal­ity since last year.

They started when cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions emerged against for­mer mayor Pa­trick Swartz and for mer deputy mayor Cameron Mcako. The claims were ap­par­ently un­cov­ered by for­mer mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Ian Kenned, who has since left the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Mcako and Swartz were stripped of their pow­ers, and then Mcako was sub­se­quently “re­called” by the ANC.

Shortly af­ter­wards, the DA won over the ANC ’s al­liance part­ners and seized con­trol of the coun­cil. Cyril Jooste was elected mayor, while An­drews was cho­sen as his

‘We have a court in­ter­dict re­lated to a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent but don’t have plans to act against the coali­tion’

deputy.

Kenned stayed on, prompt­ing the res­ig­na­tion of four direc­tors, se­nior mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials, who claimed they had been “in­tim­i­dated”.

Kenned even­tu­ally re­signed in De­cem­ber, al­though the cir­cum­stances of his de­par­ture are un­clear. He was re­port­edly fol­lowed soon af­ter by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s chief le­gal ad­viser Mervyn Do­ralingo.

Speak­ing af­ter yes­ter­day’s meet­ing, Stel­len­bosch’s ANC chief whip Wil­lie Ortell said the meet­ing had con­tin­ued “il­le­gally” since Pheiffer had al­ready closed it.

“We have a court in­ter­dict re­lated to a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent, in which the DA just con­tin­ued a meet­ing af­ter the speaker had al­ready closed it,” he said.

“At this stage, we don’t yet have plans to take any action against the coali­tion.”

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