Durban — EThekwini opposition parties have demanded that Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi and speaker Thabani Nyawose personally bear the cost for the botched special meeting on Friday.
This is after opposition councillors – with the alleged assistance of ANC councillors – blocked the MEC from introducing the section 154 team that was announced last month to rescue the struggling municipality.
There was drama on Friday at a special meeting that appeared to have been hastily convened by speaker Nyawose. The meeting collapsed after opposition councillors blocked the MEC from introducing the section 154 team.
The team that was to be introduced is led by former presidency director-general Cassius Lubisi, who is expected to rope in former city manager Mike Sutcliffe to assist him.
Councillors from the opposition benches had questioned the breach of protocol in convening the meeting, accusing Nyawose of “unilaterally” calling the meeting without consulting party whips and the Executive Committee (Exco).
The crusade was led by African Democratic Change leader Visvin Reddy, who objected to the meeting, questioning the breach of standing rules. Reddy told the Daily News yesterday that he walked out because he believed that the meeting was not properly convened since party whips were not informed. He said councillors received SMSes but there was no prior discussion with party whips.
“I asked for clarity from the speaker and he failed to explain why he unilaterally called the meeting and I had to walk out of the meeting,” said Reddy.
Reddy said as the opposition they asked the speaker to remove the item where the MEC was to speak and introduce the team.
A source, who is a councillor from the opposition, said before the meeting started, some ANC councillors had approached him and asked him to collapse the meeting, saying they were not properly informed about it.
DA leader Thabani Mthethwa said they were angered by the “big brother” attitude of the Cogta MEC who felt she could summon them “as their schoolboys and girls”.
Mthethwa said they did not account to the MEC as councillors so she and the speaker had to follow proper channels in convening the meeting.
He said the speaker and the MEC should pay for the cost of the botched meeting since they were the cause.
Mthethwa said his party supported the intervention and has been ready to work with the new team since it was his party that has been calling for the municipality to be placed under administration, but proper procedures must be followed when they are introduced.
“There were catering and venue costs which must be paid for so we believe both the speaker and the MEC must take responsibility,” said Mthethwa.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Mluleki Mntungwa, refused to be drawn into calls for the speaker to pay the costs but referred the paper to the statement that was issued by the speaker after the meeting had collapsed.
In the statement, Nyawose said the parties objected to the sitting since the Exco was not informed about the meeting and demanded that the MEC first brief the Exco. He said he had called the special meeting at the request of the MEC.
Cogta spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said the MEC was informed prior to the meeting that there were complaints that due processes were not followed.
“The MEC was in consultation with relevant stakeholders including the municipality officials about the matter and once all the processes are done the MEC will again ask for a meeting,” Mngadi said.
The move might anger the provincial and national government as well as the ANC national leadership, which introduced the team last month.
Introducing the team, the ANC national leadership expressed its concerns about the service delivery challenges bedevilling the city. It gave the provincial executive committee under chairperson Siboniso Duma and secretary Bheki Mtolo an ultimatum to fix the problems or face their marching orders from the national office.
Under normal circumstances, the provincial government was supposed to announce the intervention through section 139 clauses including (b) which allows the Cogta MEC to appoint an administrator.
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