Kimberley - While the court application to force Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika to vacate his office is expected to be heard in the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday, the ANC provincial leadership has been summoned to account to Luthuli House.
ANC provincial spokesperson Naledi Gaosekwe said that the ANC provincial chairperson, Dr Zamani Saul, the deputy provincial chairperson, Bentley Vass, and the provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, were on Monday locked in meetings with ANC National Executive Committee officials, including ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary-general Ace Magashule, deputy secretary Jessie Duarte and treasurer Paul Mashatile.
She said the meeting was convened to discuss Matika’s matter.
All access roads leading into the Sol Plaatje Municipality offices and the Northern Cape High Court were on Monday barricaded with rolls of barbed wire.
The DA in the Northern Cape on Monday handed in court documents on behalf of the Sol Plaatje councillors who took part in the special council meeting last week, arguing that ANC councillor Pula Thabane had been lawfully elected during this meeting as the new acting mayor by way of a majority vote of 34 councillors.
“Matika was lawfully removed from the position of executive mayor on July 25.”
Numerous attempts on Monday to contact the Sol Plaatje Municipality to confirm whether it had filed any answering affidavits or if it had filed for a declaratory order with the court to declare the special council meeting invalid, were unsuccessful.
DA provincial leader Andrew Louw, in court documents, stated that Matika’s refusal to vacate his office was fuelling current tensions at the municipality and in the city.
“He is holding the entire city of Kimberley to ransom with his belligerent attitude and illegal decision to hold on to office, despite being legally voted out of office.”
Louw called upon the sheriff of the court or his deputy, with the assistance of the police, to remove Matika if he did not comply.
“His refusal to vacate has already prompted further community action while ANC councillors who voted in favour of the motion of no confidence in the mayor are now being victimised.
“The city is on the verge of violent clashes and there is a clear, imminent threat of further civil unrest and protests. The unrest in Kimberley, caused by Matika’s actions, has thus far cost the municipality and residents millions of rand.”
Louw added that damage to property, loss of income, absenteeism from school and protests and riots would continue unabated should Matika remain in power.
“The municipal council has been left hamstrung in performing any of its duties. The governance structures of the municipality have effectively been paralysed as the new acting executive mayor is not recognised by Matika and the administration of the municipality. Council has been left in disarray and is unable to fulfil its constitutional obligations.”
Louw also stated that residents did not want a “power-hungry individual” to lead the municipality.
“It is unfortunate that we must seek the assistance of the court in this matter because Matika does not have the interests of the community at heart.”
The great-grandson of Sol Plaatje and trustee of the Sol Plaatje Trust and Family Foundation, Daniel Plaatje, also advised Matika that he should do the “honourable thing” and step aside.
“If 5 000 people are marching and demanding your removal, you should take that message seriously. Leaders are appointed to serve the community. The ANC has lost credibility because of the lack of leadership. Their approach to a desperate call for help is in bad taste. Things have gone horribly wrong,” said Plaatje.
“People need assertive and independent leaders with no affiliation to factions. It breaks my heart that my grandfather’s name and Sol Plaatje Municipality are in the news for the wrong reasons. We have become a laughing stock when people’s lives are at stake. Leaders must start thinking with their consciences and not their stomachs.”
He also believed that residents were being exploited by having to pay high electricity tariffs.
“People have no jobs yet are expected to pay R260 before they get any electricity. In Kimberley, you pay more for electricity than in Camps Bay, Morningside or any other posh suburb. People do not know where to turn because no one is listening to their calls for a moral conscience, a clean city, resources and development for the youth.”
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