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Matika digs in his heels

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'I can't comment on my own resignation. The people voted for the ANC and I was nominated to lead them. We do not know why there is a rush to remove certain people'

MEET: Ousted Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika spoke yesterday morning about the special council meeting that was held on Wednesday.

SOL PLAATJE executive mayor Mangaliso Matika is resolute in insisting that he is not going anywhere amid cries from the community calling for his removal from office.

He yesterday challenged his detractors to provide him with reasons why he should step down.

“I can’t comment on my own resignation. The people voted for the ANC and I was nominated to lead them. We do not know why there is a rush to remove certain people,” said Matika.

A special council meeting was convened on Wednesday, where ANC councillor Pula Thabane was appointed as acting mayor.

Wednesday’s motion of no confidence in Matika that was presented by the DA was also supported by three EFF councillors and 11 ANC councillors.

Matika believes that the attack on him is simply a ploy by the DA to try seize control of power in the Northern Cape.

“We distance ourselves from the illegal meeting. We all know that this is the DA trying to take over the Province in the elections next year. The DA is always running to the media and are playing to the public gallery. Let their allegations be tested in a court of law,” Matika retorted.

He added that he was still waiting for the community to hand over evidence to justify the removal of the chief financial officer (CFO), Lydia Mahloko, and the municipal manager, Goolam Akharawaray.

“I am a humble person and I have been placed in my position by the voters. Maybe people call me arrogant because I advised them that I did not have the powers to remove them (the CFO and the municipal manager). I am also still waiting for proof to be given regarding the so-called flouting of supply chain management processes with regards to the alleged R1.2 million tender that was awarded to a public relations company for communicating about the R260 electricity levy. The R260 basic tariff has been put in abeyance.”

Matika pointed out that the new mayoral vehicle – an Audi Q7 that was purchased for R1 million and that had set tongues wagging – was approved by council.

“It is not my personal vehicle. If I leave the municipality, I can’t take it with me.

‘It was agreed to allow an inter-departmental task team to investigate claims including the mayoral house, car rentals and furniture. If anyone has evidence against me, they can hand it over to the task team. The report will be made public so that we can all know,” Matika added.

He said that he would not retrospectively offer to pay for any of the benefits that were the subject of the investigation.

“If I did I would be admitting guilt. Let us allow time for the investigation to be completed.”

ANC councillors who had voted in Wednesday’s special council meeting indicated that while “the threats had already started, there was no going back”.

Councillors who attended the meeting stated that they had refused to sign letters that were hand delivered to them at around 9pm on Wednesday to agree that the meeting was illegal.

Speaking on behalf of Sol Plaatje residents and ratepayers, Tumelo Mosikare said that the time for convening meetings and consultation was over.

The community called off yesterday’s planned city-wide shutdown on Wednesday night after Matika was removed by a majority vote but had indicated that they would resume protest action as the mayor was now refusing to leave.

“We were under the impression that he was gone so we will have no other choice but to revert to our original plan of action. We have given them more than enough chances.”

The chairperson of Wanya Tsotsi, Pantsi Obusitse, believes that the mayor’s defiant stance will not sit well with the community.

“It is no one’s God-given right to be in a position. We (the community) are all on standby because this is far from the end of the matter.

“The municipality is covered with barbed wire and the police are more than the officials employed at council. It appears as if we are not being taken seriously because we operate within the confines of the law. They should not misinterpret this as fear because we are not afraid.

“The mayor is dictating, not leading.”