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Cape Town - In a day of high drama, the DA’s attempts to regain control of Oudtshoorn’s town council from the ANC have failed again.
By an interim order of the Western Cape High Court, the municipality was forced to hold a council meeting on Wednesday during which the DA coalition of councillors was set to table three motions of no confidence in the Speaker, the mayor and the deputy mayor.
But Speaker John Stoffels ruled that the motions of no confidence would not be discussed before the return court date of September 10.
While Stoffels pointed out he was complying with the August 28 order by Judge Owen Rogers to convene a special council meeting, he ruled that consideration of motions of no confidence would be in conflict with the municipality’s rules of order.
Thus, despite the DA winning Ward 13 in last month’s crucial by-elections, it was unable to take control of the council.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Stoffels said the court had ordered that he convene the meeting on Wednesday to consider the motions.
“As Speaker, I am under a duty and obligation to perform my duties impartially, diligently, consistently and in such a way that the integrity and credibility of the council is not compromised.”
Stoffels added that he “considered the motion and hereby rule that it conflicts with Rule 30(2) of council’s Rules of Order, in that no matter shall be permitted to be discussed on any matter pending before, amongst other, a judicial body, hence this matter cannot be discussed in council until the outcome of the high court hearing on September 10”.
DA spokesman Chris McPherson said the council meeting had been a slap in the face of democracy.
People were angry about the ANC-led council’s latest delaying tactics. “It’s been a month now that the DA coalition has had a majority and the ANC coalition refuses (to allow) the majority to govern,” McPherson said.
“The worst is that there’s no service delivery whatsoever.”
Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said he would return to the court for clarification of his department’s interpretation of the court’s earlier ruling last week, and that should the municipality fail to hold a council meeting, he could call one himself.
Bredell said he also wanted clarity on the speaker’s ruling on the no-confidence motions on Wednesday.