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Calls for 106 to be debated

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“The premier has expressed concern over the state of municipalities during his State of the Province Address. I will never be silenced by white noise”

REQUESTS by opposition parties to discuss the outstanding Section 106 report into irregularities at Sol Plaatje Municipality at the next house sitting, as a matter of urgency, fell on deaf ears in the Northern Cape Legislature yesterday.

ANC chief whip Neo Maneng indicated that the matter was “premature” and that it should be referred back to the committee for discussion.

He believed that the opposition had a “hidden agenda”.

“The premier has expressed concern over the state of municipalities during his State of the Province Address. I will never be silenced by white noise,” said Maneng.

Both the DA and EFF insisted that the report should be debated, since none of the findings were implemented or discussed since the report was released in 2018.

DA Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) Grantham Steenkamp requested the Speaker to schedule a debate for the next house sitting on the current state of Sol Plaatje Municipality, where the municipal manager and chief financial officer are still receiving their full salaries after they were suspended two years ago.

DA provincial chairperson Harold McGluwa stated that since December 2019 numerous requests were made to the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) and the chairperson of the portfolio committee of Coghsta, as well as the Speaker of the legislature, to discuss the matter, but to date no response has been received.

DA provincial leader Andrew Louw, who led a walkout of the house yesterday, added that the house was conveniently ignoring an urgent matter that needed to be discussed.

“When did the committee for Coghsta last convene to discuss matters of interest on this matter?” asked Louw.

“We suspect that there is an ongoing collective effort by some in the ANC to prevent the truth, about Sol Plaatje Municipality being abused as a cash cow, from coming out.

“The constant gatekeeping, sidelining and overlooking of the DA cannot be allowed to continue unabated. The DA will be addressing this matter at the Rules meeting scheduled for later this week.”

EFF provincial leader Aubrey Baartman added that it was becoming the norm for the executive to ignore their submissions.

“They cannot continue to ignore us as they wish. The executive is not taking us seriously. The DA wrote letters to the MEC for Coghsta, the portfolio committee and the Speaker and nothing was done. Now we are being told to put our request in writing.”

The MEC for Coghsta, Bently Vass, stated that he had met with the chairperson of the portfolio committee on Coghsta last week and they had discussed the report. “We will meet again in the next week.”

The Speaker, Newrene Klaaste, called members to order and referred the matter to the portfolio committee on Coghsta.

Louw then called for clarity, asking whether Maneng had stated that “he would never be dictated to by whites”.

“We are all members in this house and we are not dictators.”

Maneng explained that he had referred to “white noise” and that he had never referred to any race group.

Meanwhile the Premier, Dr Zamani Saul, has assured city residents that there is no reason to panic despite the increase in the number of cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

During the budget speech yesterday he urged the public to be responsible and not to cause undue panic regarding the pandemic.