City of Tshwane's fate in balance
MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lebogang Maile yesterday issued the stern warning ahead of the motion to be tabled by the EFF during a full council sitting today.
The sitting is to consider motions of no confidence in Mokgalapa, Mathebe, acting speaker Zweli Khumalo, chair of chairs Gert Pretorius and chief whip Christo van den Heever.
If successful, the motions, which also call for dissolutions of all Section 79 oversight committees, will mark the end of the DA-led coalition government in Tshwane.
Addressing the media in Sandton yesterday, Maile said he received a copy of a letter written by the EFF to Mathebe regarding the agenda and other related matters of the meeting.
“It suffices to say that the MEC takes notice of the EFF’s letter and as part of my oversight responsibilities, especially given the unfortunate previous incidents, the officials from the department will be designated to observe the council proceedings on January 16 (today),” Maile said.
He was adamant the City of Tshwane was likely to have new leadership after the council meeting today. “The DA has fallen out of favour with the EFF.”
He urged Mathebe to ensure the motion of no confidence was tabled, saying he did not want a repeat of December 5. The MEC said that Mathebe unilaterally decided not to be part of the council meeting in which the EFF and ANC took a decision to remove her and Mokgalapa from office.
However, their removal was overturned by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, following an urgent application by the DA. The ANC and EFF appealed the order, but lost.
In a bid to avoid a repeat, Maile warned Mathebe to be present at the council meeting today. “I do not want a repeat of last time. She must not come to the council meeting and just leave.
“She must preside over the motion of no confidence against her. If she feels the motion of no confidence is against her, she is free to recuse herself, but before that, the speaker must facilitate the appointment of an appropriate person who will oversee the motion of no confidence and ensure the affairs of the council meeting run smoothly.
“If she fails to do so, I will invoke my powers as the MEC to either suspend her or fire as a councillor. I expect nothing less,” Maile warned.
Reacting to the threat, Mathebe said: “Which powers does the MEC have to remove me? On which grounds? The Municipal Systems Act Schedule 1 clearly states processes to be followed to remove a councillor. Maile must clarify which powers he has to remove me.”
Maile also appealed to ANC and EFF councillors to behave themselves during the council meeting today. He was referring to the events of December 5 which culminated in the violent removal of Khumalo.
The ANC and EFF installed department official Willie Bila to preside over the motion of no confidence against Mathebe and Mokgalapa. Both the ANC and EFF then elected Obakeng Ramabodu of the EFF as the new speaker of council, but Judge Neil Tuchten rejected his appointment. Judge Tuchten also said there was an irregularity in the appointment of Bila as he had no certificate from the MEC authorising him to preside over that motion.
Warning against a repeat of December 5's events, Maile said: “Councillors must stop involving officials in politics.”