Cape Town - The ANC caucus in Prince Albert Municipality has threatened legal action following a council meeting that took place on Friday last week and ensured victory for the DA.
Following the meeting, the DA has taken over the positions of deputy mayor and speaker in the municipality, which it said would be the only municipality in the Central Karoo it governs. It said this victory would result in a by-election which it said it was confident it would win.
The ANC, however, raised concerns about the meeting, saying its speaker, Elsabe Maans, who is also the chairperson of the council, confirmed that no such meeting was convened.
In a statement, the ANC said the now former speaker Maans, on the advice of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell, was clear about what should have been the correct procedure to be followed.
“She instructed the municipal manager to obtain a legal opinion on the situation surrounding councillor (Maggie) Jaftha as the speaker.
“She and the municipal manager were informed by her party, the Karoo Gemeenskap Party (KGP), that she had been expelled from the party and therefore she was no longer a member of the party on April 12. Thus, she no longer represented KGP in council,” the party said.
However, against legal advice, the municipal manager convened the meeting outside the office of the speaker without authority from the speaker.
“We have always believed that the DA was not to be trusted and that they want power at all cost and don’t care about the consequences. We will not leave matters as they are. The ANC will not partake in any illegal activities promoted by a so-called municipal manager who claims to have vast local government experience,” the ANC said.
The party called for an objective intervention by MEC Bredell and vowed to not take part in activities in the council under the new leadership.
The municipal manager was approached for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.
However, the municipality’s deputy mayor, Linda Jaquet, said the DA had followed the correct procedure.
“According to the rules of order, the majority can request that the speaker call a council meeting. The DA has done that in writing, but the speaker failed to respond.
“The DA then approached the municipal manager to request the meeting. The rules of order also allow that should the speaker fail to respond, you may approach the municipal manager with such a request,” Jaquet said.