The executive mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality Pula Thabane. Picture: Danie van der Lith/African News Agency (ANA)

Kimberley - The newly-elected mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality, Pula Thabane, has yet to take occupation of his executive office, which is under lock and chain.

Thabane is currently making use of the suspended municipal manager’s office and he said that he wants the executive mayor’s office to first be debugged and given the all clear by the National Prosecuting Authority.

Sources on Thursday explained that it was now “open season” at the municipality with “everybody who was looking for a position” knocking on the new mayor’s door.

“Thabane is being forced to make many big decisions.”

It was reported that the keys to a vehicle had been handed over to Thabane, to use as his means of transport, although the driver’s contract had ended when the former mayor, Mangaliso Matika, resigned.

Thabane meanwhile on Thursday appointed his new mayoral committee that will assume office as from today, to immediately address service delivery.

He is scheduled to meet with Expanded Public Works Programme workers today.

“The non-existence of committees in Sol Plaatje Municipality has led to the stagnation of service delivery on important matters. The last ordinary council meeting was conducted in June. Earlier this week, the postponed council meeting of October 31 did not take place because a quorum was not present.”

Thabane added that the recommendations of the Spelum Committee regarding the rezoning for development and alienation of land had to be considered on an urgent basis, as the last meeting had taken place seven months ago.

Meanwhile, some ANC councillors stated that they did not recognise or respect Thabane or the so-called “rebel” ANC councillors who were expelled from the party last week.

“Who do the expelled councillors represent, as they were put into council by the ANC? Thabane can’t be sworn in as the mayor if he has been expelled. The expelled councillors will be removed from council by next month.”

The newly-elected mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality Pula Thabane's executive office. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

The expulsion letters were served while they were attending last week’s council meeting, when the Section 106 investigation report was presented to council.

The affected councillors are in the process of reviewing the outcome of their disciplinary hearings.

Staff in the Speaker’s Office, who were employed by the former Sol Plaatje Speaker, Elizabeth Johnson, said they were “sitting under the tree” due to the uncertainty relating to their jobs.

“We haven’t been paid since October and have our office outside but we are still reporting for duty. The Section 106 investigation report stated that Johnson was removed unprocedurally and therefore if she returns as the Speaker we might still be employed.”

Johnson has approached the Labour Court to challenge her removal as Speaker, where the municipality has challenged the application.

Insiders on Thursday indicated that some of the councillors wanted Matika to return as the mayor.

“Since he left, the council has collapsed and nothing has been happening. Matika used to be at the forefront of service delivery and he has not been implicated in any wrongdoing in the Section 106 report. The persons mentioned in the investigation have not been given the opportunity of a right of reply to the findings. Another three months should be given to discuss the findings and produce a final report and send it back to the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs.”

Issues have further been complicated by the fact that council has not approved the acting contract of the acting municipal manager, Ruth Sebolecwe, as she is mentioned in the Section 106 report for instructing that the municipal manager and chief financial officer be allowed immediate access to their e-mails after they were placed on precautionary suspension.

Sol Plaatje communications manager Sello Matsie stated that he was not in a position to respond to media enquiries.

“Most of the enquiries should be directed to the political office and unfortunately I’m not in a position to provide any response. Matters relating to the council meeting are handled by the political office including the extension of the acting municipal manager’s contract.”

He added that the Section 106 report was before council for deliberations.

“Thus I cannot at this stage provide any response.”

No spokesperson has been appointed for the mayor yet.

It could not be established whether the sick notes and study leave applications that were submitted to excuse councillors from Thursday’s council meeting were supported by medical certificates and or exam schedule letters.

The next council meeting is expected to convene on November 28.

The newly-elected mayoral committee:

  • Chairperson for corporate services and human resources ­ - Magdeline Mokgaladi
  • Chairperson for community services ­- Rachel Wapad
  • Chairperson for inter-governmental, international relations and customer services - Yvonne Qonga
  • Chairperson for finance - Pius Tshite
  • Chairperson for transport, roads and stormwater - Gladys Monyamane
  • Chairperson for utility services - Elizabeth Johnson
  • Chairperson for economic development, urban renewal and tourism - Pulane Kwagile
  • Chairperson for IDP - Dimakatso Chinkuli
  • Chairperson for safety and security - Paul Kok

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