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Interdict battle in court


THE NINE expelled ANC councillors will hear if they will be reinstated today, when acting Northern Cape High Court Judge Sieberhagen delivers judgment on an application for an urgent interdict to prevent their removal from Sol Plaatje Municipality.

The councillors are also trying to prevent by-elections from being held on February 13 2019 in the wards that they represent in the Sol Plaatje municipal district.

The councillors, as well as Sol Plaatje executive mayor Pula Thabane, want to be reinstated in their positions after they were expelled as ANC members on October 25.

The ANC Regional Executive Committee found them guilty of colluding with opposition parties during a council meeting, “against one of their own”, when former Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika was voted out of office.

They submitted an application to the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) to review their expulsion on November 16.

The legal representative for the ANC, advocate Monnapule Motlogelwa, said the court applicants could not serve as councillors if they were no longer ANC members.

He believed that the councillors were prompted to approach the court when they were stripped of their salaries and titles following their expulsion.

“The councillors decided to approach the court when they realised that their review application would not be successful.

“The applicants knocked on the wrong door when they applied to the national disciplinary committee, with no solid basis. Every disciplined member knows that they are supposed to first appeal to its next higher structure – the provincial disciplinary committee.”

Motlogelwa also believed that the application proved that the expelled councillors were treating the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) with a “condescending attitude”.

“The applicants are not worthy of any legal protection – they do not respect the rules of the organisation. The application should be struck off the roll or dismissed for lack of urgency.

“The PEC indicated that they had tried to engage with the applicants, even though the time frame for the review application had lapsed and it had not been approached for any recourse.”

He added that the ANC was at liberty to deploy its members where it deemed fit.

“The benefits of the councillors were forfeited when their membership was terminated. At all times, their conduct showed that they will not be bound by the dictates of the ANC.”

The legal representative for the nine councillors, advocate Sharon Erasmus, pointed out that her clients had lodged the review application within the 21-day deadline.

“The national disciplinary committee did not reject the application that indicated that the expulsions were unprocederal and unfair. The matter has not been finalised and the national disciplinary committee must still pronounce its findings,” said Erasmus.

She explained that the councillors referred the matter to the NEC when no response was forthcoming from the PEC.

“The review application was copied to the PEC out of courtesy. In the case of a dispute, the national disciplinary committee has jurisdiction to act. When no action was taken they approached the court for relief “

Erasmus pointed out that after the review application was served, council proceeded to terminate the salaries of the councillors and the executive mayor.

“My clients had no alternative but to obtain an interdict after vacancies were declared by the Independent Electoral Commission and notice was given of by-elections that will be held in their respective wards. The executive mayor (Thabane) was removed unlawfully. Councillors have a primary duty of representing the community.”

Meanwhile, an interim interdict was granted in chambers in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday (Tuesday) to prevent any steps being taken with regard to the recommendations of the Section 106 investigation into irregularities at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

The legal representative for Sol Plaatje chief financial officer Lydia Mahloko, advocate Maisa Jeremiah Merabe from Bloemfontein, stated that the application sought to have the Section 106 investigation report declared null and void.

No legal representative for Sol Plaatje Municipality was present in court yesterday. Acting Judge Sieberhagen postponed the matter until next year.

Meanwhile, a Sol Plaatje council meeting has been scheduled to take place today to discuss the Section 106 report as well as the agenda of October 3.