Cape Town – The Mayoral Committee of the Beaufort West Municipality will not be dissolved despite the ANC rejecting the appointment of its deputy mayor as mayor, the DA provincial spokesperson said.
This follows the resignation of Mayor Koosie Maloy and the scheduling of a by-election for Ward 7 on May 24.
Anneke Scheepers said ANC councillors moved to dissolve the council ahead of a forensic audit to investigate its financial records, including “reports of outstanding money” former mayor Truman Prince owes the municipality and questions about tenders that were granted during his tenure.
“The municipality has no money and we need this audit so the situation can be turned around and services can be delivered to the community,” Scheepers said.
She said on Thursday the ANC chose to disrupt the meeting and showed “no respect for law and order”.
“They gathered on the pavement where they accused a local Beaufort West journalist of being a spy for the DA. ANC councillor Evelyn Lawrence slapped her across the face. The journalist has since laid charges.”
ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said the ANC and the DA’s coalition partner, the Karoo Democratic Front (KDF), had held consultations and decided to table a “standard motion in council for the mayco to be dissolved”.
“The DA insisted that the current deputy mayor (Magdalena Slabbert) be made mayor. We could not agree on this matter. This meant even on other matters of an integrated development plan (IDP) and a budget, we would not agree.”
Jacobs said when the Speaker, Euna Titus Wentzel, insisted on appointing the “deputy mayor as mayor with full powers”, and read that into the record, the meeting could not continue because “the ANC rejected this move”.
Following the council meeting’s dissolution, the ANC held a caucus outside and were appalled that the journalist intruded on their meeting by “taking photos and trying to record our discussions”, which prompted Lawrence to confront her, said Jacobs.
“We ask journalists not to be players in the political circus created by these multiple DA council resignations and the resultant instability in the municipality."
“Journalists must report on council developments and not behave like private investigators sent to spy on ANC councillors’ activities outside council."
“The ANC respects the freedom of the press but that freedom is not absolute and cannot be discharged with recklessness,” said Jacobs.
“It is clear that the ANC have no regard for the rule of law and are trying to prevent a forensic audit. The DA and our coalition partner, the KDF, remain united in our efforts to set the municipality on the path of clean governance and delivery,” said Daylin Mitchell, DA Beaufort West constituency head.