DA si­len­ce sinks meet­ing

George Herald - - Voorblad - Mi­chel­le Pie­naar

The lack of feed­back from the DA and the can­cel­la­ti­on of the ma­yo­ral speech cau­sed a hu­ge out­cry a­mong the op­po­si­ti­on as well as in the pu­blic gal­le­ry du­ring the Ge­or­ge coun­cil meet­ing y­e­ster­day. It was the first coun­cil meet­ing fol­lo­wing the clamp­do­wn by the Ha­wks on Ge­or­ge Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty on 23 A­pril.

Ge­or­ge S­pea­ker, Ger­rit P­re­to­ri­us, ad­jour­ned y­e­ster­day's meet­ing just an hour and a half af­ter it star­ted, in re­spon­se to dis­rup­ti­ve dan­cing and sin­ging by the op­po­si­ti­on coun­cil­lors. T­his cre­a­ted a fes­ti­ve at­mos­p­he­re amid the doom and gloom fol­lo­wing the Ha­wks' raid.

C­har­lie Wil­li­ams and Lan­ga Lan­ga of the ANC vou­ched that the meet­ing would be dis­rup­ted should the DA con­ti­nue to act in an "ar­ro­gant man­ner" by ig­no­ring the op­po­si­ti­on's re­que­sts for "di­recti­on". W­hen it be­ca­me cle­ar no for­mal re­port on the de­ve­lop­ments sin­ce the raid would be fort­hco­ming, the op­po­si­ti­on, true to their word, dis­rup­ted the pro­cee­dings.

P­re­to­ri­us, still not wil­ling to or­der Acting Ma­yor C­har­lot­te Clar­ke to re­port back to Coun­cil on the cur­rent sta­te of af­fairs in Ge­or­ge, then op­ted to ad­journ the meet­ing.

Ma­yor Mel­vin Naik took le­a­ve until 25 May short­ly af­ter it ca­me to lig­ht that he is one of the pe­op­le in­ves­ti­ga­ted by the po­li­ce, and was not in coun­cil to de­li­ver his ma­yo­ral ad­dress. The op­po­si­ti­on ex­pected Clar­ke, as acting ma­yor, to put the coun­cil­lors in the loop re­gar­ding po­li­ti­cal and mu­ni­ci­pal mat­ters, es­pe­ci­al­ly sin­ce DA Re­gi­o­nal C­hair­man Ja­co Londt con­fir­med last week that he has writ­ten to the DA's Fe­de­ral Exe­cu­ti­ve Com­mit­tee (Fe­dex) as­king for the ma­yor's sus­pen­si­on.

W­hen it be­ca­me cle­ar no for­mal re­port on the de­ve­lop­ments sin­ce the raid would be fort­hco­ming, the op­po­si­ti­on, true to their word, dis­rup­ted the pro­cee­dings.

No re­spon­se has been re­cei­ved from Fe­dex by the ti­me of going to press. P­re­to­ri­us said that "to our kno­w­led­ge", the ma­yor has not been sus­pen­ded. He re­fer­red me­dia in­qui­ries on Naik's pos­si­ble sus­pen­si­on back to the DA. The of­fi­ce of the Mi­nis­ter of Lo­cal Go­vern­ment, An­ton B­re­dell, re­fer­red all in­qui­ries re­gar­ding Mu­ni­ci­pal Ma­na­ger T­re­vor Bo­tha and Naik's po­si­ti­ons to the Ge­or­ge Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty and the Ha­wks. Ac­cor­ding to in­for­ma­ti­on, both in­di­vi­du­als are being in­ves­ti­ga­ted by the Ha­wks.

No ne­a­rer to the truth

Op­po­si­ti­on par­ties' le­a­ders de­man­ded an of­fi­ci­al writ­ten re­port on the sta­te of af­fairs, whi­le the DA re­mai­ned tig­ht-lip­ped. Well in­to the meet­ing P­re­to­ri­us at­temp­ted to gi­ve so­me feed­back, saying he had sent Naik a let­ter in which the ma­yor is re­que­sted to re­spond to "the al­le­ga­ti­ons a­gainst him".

It is un­cle­ar w­het­her the al­le­ga­ti­ons are sti­pu­la­ted in the let­ter. P­re­to­ri­us said Naik has until 18 May to re­spond and that it would be pre-emp­ting the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on to ma­ke any sta­te­ment re­gar­ding the mat­ter. The op­po­si­ti­on par­ties did not fall for t­his and said they ha­ve not had any for­mal feed­back re­gar­ding pro­ces­ses, nor ha­ve they been of­fi­ci­al­ly in­for­med that a raid had ta­ken pla­ce. Ma­ny coun­cil­lors said they get their up­da­tes from the Ge­or­ge He­rald.

SAC Coun­cil­lor Ba­zil Pe­trus said the ab­sen­ce of a ma­yo­ral ad­dress is to­tal­ly u­naccep­ta­ble. "The pu­blic needs to know w­hat is going on," he said. PBI Coun­cil­lor Vi­r­gill Ge­ric­ke said it can­not be "bu­si­ness as u­su­al". "So­me­bo­dy needs to gi­ve di­recti­on," he said. La­e­ti­tia Ar­ries of the EFF said the acting ma­yor should ha­ve been al­lo­wed to speak, bran­ding her "a pup­pet of the

DA". Wil­bur Har­ris of I­co­sa said the DA had let a gol­den op­por­tu­ni­ty slip to in­form the pe­op­le. FF Plus Coun­cil­lor Gert van Nie­kerk said they ha­ve to re­ad a­bout the la­test de­ve­lop­ments in the news­pa­pers. "To keep t­his a­way from coun­cil­lors is a slap in the fa­ce," he said. ACDP Coun­cil­lor

Jo­han du Toit said all coun­cil­lors are being dis­re­gar­ded. "On­ly the DA cau­cus knows w­hat is going on," he said.

B­rie­fing the me­dia af­ter the coun­cil meet­ing was ad­jour­ned, the PBI, ANC, FF Plus, I­co­sa, and ACDP said the fact that P­re­to­ri­us has not cal­led an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to the al­le­ga­ti­ons a­gainst Naik and Bo­tha can land him in hot wa­ter.

So­me of the i­tems that we­re on y­e­ster­day's a­gen­da in­clu­de re­ports on the re­cruit­ment and se­lecti­on for the ap­point­ment of di­rec­tors in the de­part­ments of E­lec­tro­techni­cal and Cor­po­ra­te Ser­vi­ces as well as Plan­ning and De­ve­lop­ment. A la­te i­tem on the pos­si­ble sus­pen­si­on of the Mu­ni­ci­pal Ma­na­ger, T­re­vor Bo­tha, was wit­h­dra­wn.

P­ho­tos: Mi­chel­le Pie­naar

The at­mos­p­he­re was jol­ly with lots of sin­ging and dan­cing from the ANC coun­cil­lors. MIDDLE: A la­te i­tem on the pos­si­ble sus­pen­si­on of Mu­ni­ci­pal Ma­na­ger T­re­vor Bo­tha was wit­h­dra­wn. RIGHT: Acting Ma­yor C­har­lot­te Clar­ke.

See mo­re p­ho­tos and a vi­deo at www.ge­or­ge­he­rald.com Ge­or­ge S­pea­ker Ger­rit P­re­to­ri­us (left) ad­jour­ned y­e­ster­day’s meet­ing fol­lo­wing a se­ries of dis­rup­ti­ons by the op­po­si­ti­on par­ties. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s le­gal ad­vis­or, Jo­han van S­chalk­wyk, hel­ped with...

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