Up­roar over EFF’s dress code vi­o­la­tion

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Muzi Zin­c­ume

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.

Dress code

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.

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