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ANC councillors face suspension


'We never spoke about expulsion we referred to suspension. The constitution merely makes provision for that as an option'

Pictures: Danie van der Lith and Sandi Kwon Hoo

THE ANC has assured its maverick councillors who voted for the removal of Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika last week, that they would not be expelled although they could face suspension on charges of misconduct.

Meanwhile, the DA chief whip at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Christopher Phiri, yesterday indicated that they were launching a separate court action to enforce the council decision made last week.

“The new mayor, Pula Thabane, has not been able to assume office since he was appointed last week. We will be applying for an urgent court application on Monday (today) that Matika must vacate the building, because he is refusing to leave. The municipality is not a tuck shop and cannot be run by one individual,” said Phiri.

He added that it was unfair to expect ratepayers to fund the legal costs of the matter.

“An ANC councillor is being refused access to his workplace by security, without due cause. The municipality is a public institution and he is even prevented from entering to pay his municipal account.”

Threats were apparently made to stop the payment of the salaries of these ANC councillors as “punishment for acting against one of their own”.

The affected councillors believed this was the result of political interference and intimidation.

The councillors had explained that they had only acted in the interests of the community after exhausting all internal channels to raise their issues.

“The ANC is a people-orientated organisation and must place the will and needs of the people above those of individuals. We found ourselves having to decide between the people and the mayor and our own revolutionary conscience. We understood the consequences of our actions but deemed the community to be bigger than us. The integrity of the municipality was at stake and we acted swiftly to prevent another city-wide shutdown.”

The councillors stated that they would not be surprised if they were expelled.

“We understand and welcome the decision of the ANC. We, however, wish to question why Matika is more important than the community. We fail to understand how this is any different to the same ANC Provincial Executive Committee advising councillors to put forward a motion to remove the former Speaker, Santa Johnson.”

Manager of communications at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, stated that the salaries of all councillors were paid on Friday.

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga pointed out the suspension of the councillors would be subject to the approval of the Provincial Executive Committee or Provincial Working Committee.

“We never spoke about expulsion, we referred to suspension. The constitution merely makes provision for that as an option.”

He added that nobody could stop the salaries of councillors without following due processes or giving them a fair hearing where they could explain why they behaved in the manner in which they did.

“Councillors will remain put until they have been given an opportunity to explain why they decided to collude with the opposition.”

Ngxanga indicated that the councillors would face charges of misconduct.

“Councillors have the autonomy to make their own decisions within the framework of broader ANC policy directives. We cannot pre-empt that these councillors will lose their membership. Discipline in the ANC is more corrective than punitive.”

While last week Ngxanga had indicated that the ANC would obtain an interdict to prevent the removal of the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, he stated that the municipality was handling the issue of the court order to set aside the decision of the “illegal” council meeting.

The manager in the Office of the Mayor, George Mosimane, on Friday stated that they wished to obtain a declaratory order to declare the council meeting invalid and not an interdict.