Walk­out col­lapses coun­cil meet­ing

Third sit­ting ends in stale­mate as spat over fit­ness of speaker sees op­po­si­tion mem­bers threaten court ac­tion

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - LIAM NGOBENI [email protected]

YET another City of Tsh­wane coun­cil sit­ting col­lapsed yes­ter­day af­ter coun­cil­lors from both the EFF and ANC walked out of the House.

The high­est de­ci­sion-mak­ing body in the cap­i­tal has not been able to per­form its du­ties for the last three meet­ings.

The lat­est episode yes­ter­day fol­lowed a nasty start dur­ing which the op­po­si­tion par­ties did not mince their words about their dis­dain for speaker Katlego Mathebe, say­ing that she was not fit to be the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer of the coun­cil.

In the lat­est meet­ing, the two par­ties were vy­ing for the res­o­lu­tion that was taken to ap­point Zweli Khu­malo as act­ing speaker to be re­scinded. This would dis­qual­ify him from pre­sid­ing over a meet­ing to de­cide Mathebe’s fate.

The speaker, how­ever, re­jected the re­quest and said she would not be de­railed by the two par­ties as they dif­fered on in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the law in the mat­ter.

Fol­low­ing heated de­bate, the op­po­si­tion par­ties de­cided to walk out of the coun­cil cham­ber, stat­ing that they would be seek­ing an­swers from the courts on the is­sue.

How­ever, that was not be­fore say­ing that they were dis­sat­is­fied with her han­dling of, and rul­ing on the is­sue. They chanted “Mathebe must go”.

For­mer DA coun­cil­lor and chair­per­son of the Tsh­wane Money Mat­ters Cau­cus, Lex Mid­del­berg, told the Pre­to­ria News that the con­stant col­laps­ing of meet­ings would have cat­a­strophic ef­fects on the metro as there were time-sen­si­tive is­sues that had to be tabled. He said the ad­just­ment bud­get was com­ing up and he did not see how it could be ap­proved or even go to public par­tic­i­pa­tion while the coun­cil was dys­func­tional.

“I doubt they will even have the bud­get go through all the nec­es­sary steps and have it ready come July… and if they don’t, the City must go un­der au­to­matic ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Mid­del­berg said even more wor­ry­ing was that res­i­dents would be the ones to suf­fer.

“The speaker over­played her hand, and this is a bla­tant abuse of the chair and a bridge too far.

“The strat­egy is ob­vi­ous. The re­moval of the speaker is key in this fight… they (EFF and ANC) know that if they bring mo­tions to the speaker, us­ing her own pre­rog­a­tive she can re­ject them on tech­ni­cal­i­ties. When the cross-hairs turn to her, she can del­e­gate her side­kick who will re­ject it, and they go.”

He said it was clear the par­ties wanted to can­cel the po­si­tion, which was not leg­is­lated; get rid of the act­ing speaker; and, elect a speaker and set the mo­tions in place.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Levy Ndou said the col­lapse of yes­ter­day’s meet­ing would give lo­cal gov­ern­ment MEC Le­bo­gang Maile the am­mu­ni­tion and rea­son to im­ple­ment his de­ci­sion to sus­pend her.

He said the im­pli­ca­tions were bad for res­i­dents as re­cent de­vel­op­ments in the metro were con­trary to their in­ter­ests.

DA pro­vin­cial leader John Moodey said the party was an­gered by the chaos that took place in coun­cil, pre­vent­ing it from con­duct­ing its busi­ness.

“It is ul­ti­mately the res­i­dents of Pre­to­ria who will suf­fer be­cause of these dis­rup­tions that are aimed at stop­ping ser­vice de­liv­ery at the ex­pense of res­i­dents,” said Moodey.

Maile mean­while said: “We are con­cerned about the col­lapse of to­day’s coun­cil sit­ting. Or­der needs to be re­stored and coun­cil­lors must act in a man­ner that puts the in­ter­ests of res­i­dents first.”

He said the prov­ince would seek a report from the speaker and whips on the un­der­ly­ing rea­sons that led to the col­lapse of the sit­ting.

“There should be se­ri­ous con­se­quences for any­one re­spon­si­ble,” he said.

Maile said: “A strong mes­sage needs to be sent out to all mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils and coun­cil­lors around the prov­ince that the days of ar­bi­trar­ily col­laps­ing coun­cil sit­tings in fur­ther­ance of parochial par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests, at the ex­pense of ser­vice de­liv­ery, are well and truly over. ”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.