Durban - DA councillors are heading for a showdown with eThekwini Speaker Logie Naidoo, saying they will defy his ruling banning the posting of messages on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook during council meetings.
Naidoo has warned that councillors breaking the rule will have action taken against them.
“I will prepare a case and refer it to the ethics committee which will determine the action and punishment.
“As the council Speaker I have made these rules and I will take action. These rules were put out three council meetings ago and there were no objections,” he said.
“It is wrong to do it during meetings. I am not suppressing anyone. They can tweet but not during the meetings.”
Naidoo gave an example: he had previously caught DA Councillor Warwick Chapman taking a picture of an ANC councillor during a meeting.
“Some councillors tweeted during the release of the Manase report and that is a breach of the rules,” he said.
Naidoo has more than 5 300 followers on Twitter, although he has no idea who opened the account in his name.
The DA vowed to continue tweeting during council meetings, despite the warnings.
DA councillor Nicole Graham accused Naidoo of wanting to “ensure that the chaos that [the] council usually amounts to is concealed from residents and voters”.
Graham said DA council members would continue to use Twitter and other social media platforms during council meetings until the proposed ban appeared in the “Rules of Order” governing conduct during such meetings.
“Social networks enable voters to have access to [the] council and its decisions,” she explained.
Graham vowed that her party would continue exposing the “chaos that has engulfed council meetings of late, through online platforms such as Twitter using the hashtag #durbancouncil.”
Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay agreed with Naidoo, saying tweeting and posting messages on Facebook was “wrong”.
“Council meetings need to respected,” he said.
National Freedom Party councillor Bongiwe Mtshali said councillors needed to be focused and to concentrate during the meetings.
“The NFP is against tweeting and using Facebook during meetings. Councillors are there to discuss things that affect people’s lives,” she said. - The Mercury