Uproar over EFF’s dress code violation
FUMING EFF leaders are preparing to take the City of uMhlathuze to court following the suspension of their PR Councillor Rebecca Mohlala.
Mohlala was one of the two EFF councillors escorted out of the Council Chamber during a full council meeting in Richards Bay for wearing red overalls in contravention to the municipality’s dress code policy.
Last Friday Mohlala was issued with a suspension letter by the office of the Speaker. She was suspended for a week without pay.
A member of the EFF interim leadership structure, Phumlani Gumede, said they will ‘fight till the end to ensure that the ruling party refrains from abusing its majority in the city’.
‘As I stated before, the ruling party is running the city in Mafia style. Two of our councillors were thrown out of the Council Chamber in that meeting, but now they only suspended one of them. Where’s the logic in that?
‘We are surprised Mohlala was suspended without being given an opportunity to state her side of the story.
‘Our lawyers are preparing to go to court and we are sure the city will lose as they took an unconstitutional and unlawful decision.
‘In Parliament EFF representatives wear their red overalls and they have never been subjected to such unconstitutional behaviour,’ said Gumede.
The EFF’s Siboniso Khoza accused the uMhlathuze Municipality of intimidation tactics.
‘I believe this is a way of intimidating her from being vocal about issues such as the mayoral house.
‘I need to make it clear that our councillors won’t succumb to these intimidation tactics. Instead they will fight for what is right,’ said Khoza
City of uMhlathuze Communications Manager Mdu Ncalane confirmed Mohlala’s suspenion for violating Section 35 of the Standing Order.
‘She was the only councillor who was disruptive during the council meeting and refused to take orders from the Speaker. The other (EFF) councillor was quiet during the proceedings,’ said Ncalane.
According to Ncalane, the city had long taken a decision to strictly enforce its dress code policy.
This he said ‘was done not to intimidate, but to ensure suitable decorum in council meetings’.
‘Shortly after the local government elections, we approved the general dress code for councillors and staff aimed at developing an instantly identifiable image.’
This has been adhered to by all councillors until the last council meeting, where two EFF councillors had to be forced by the Speaker Silondile Mkhize to leave the council chamber.
‘This process happened peacefully and the EFF councillors obeyed the order,’ Ncalane said. He added that the dress code policy states that non-compliance with the policy will result in councillors or staff members being notified.
‘If the problem persists, anyone in violation of the policy will be sent out of the council chamber to change.
Disciplinary measures are taken by the Speaker in the case of a councillor, and by the Municipal Manager if the culprit is a staff member.
EFF’s Phumlani Gumede said EFF councillors voted against the dress code policy as it was unconstitutional.
‘Our councillors were deployed by the party, not by the ANC, so they can’t abuse their majority by forcing our councillors to change their dress code. We represent the poor people and the working class,’ he said.