The court application sought to remove three SCM PR councillors including the mayor Xolile Phillps, Mauricia Nimmerhoudt and Siziwe Mooi from their positions
A member of the Siyathemba Community Forum (SCM) will approach the Northern Cape High Court on Sunday to challenge the appointment of councillors from his party, who were sworn in at Siyathemba Local Municipality on November 22.
The newly elected mayor and leader of the SCM Xolile Phillips said that the forum agreed to enter into a working agreement with the ANC.
“We had approached the DA and were waiting for their response as of November 22, while the deadline for the formation of coalitions was November 23. In the meantime the ANC offered the SCM the mayoral position at Siyathemba Municipality in Prieska as well as the speaker position at Thembelihle Municipality in Hopetown.
“The ANC agreed in exchange to take the mayoral position at Thembelihle Municipality and the speaker position at Siyathemba Municipality.”
He added that the SCM leadership decided that it was in the best interests of the community to enter into an agreement with the ANC.
“If we did not take up the ANC’s offer, each party would vote for themselves where the ANC would retain the majority. We would not have gotten anywhere on our own. We decided that we would be able to make a bigger difference inside the council as opposed to working from the sidelines.”
He added that they would remain independent and had stipulated certain conditions before entering into a working relationship with the ANC.
“We did not sign a coalition but entered into a gentleman’s agreement where we trusted that we would vote for each other. We will continue to hold robust debates in council and will not blindly agree with the ANC. We also want the municipality to appoint local contractors because only companies from big centres such as Cape Town and Johannesburg benefit from tenders.”
Phillips stated that they had explained the benefits of the agreement with community members.
“One of our members Ronald Februarie is creating confusion and is sowing division because he is bitter, as he wanted to be appointed as the mayor. He misled the community and voted for a DA speaker and mayor during the council meeting. He is not part of the leadership structure and formed parallel structures within the organisation. We are disappointed in his behaviour and will apply for an interdict against him and subject him to a disciplinary hearing.”
Februarie stated that the proportional representatives who were voted into council did not have the mandate of the party to side with the ANC.
“The community insisted that they wanted change – otherwise they could just as well have voted for the ANC. They went behind our backs to enter into an agreement with the ANC.”
He added that the court application sought to remove three SCM PR councillors including the mayor Xolile Phillps, Mauricia Nimmerhoudt and Siziwe Mooi from their positions, would be heard in the Northern Cape High Court on Sunday.
“Individuals cannot go behind our backs to seal deals. At this point we do not want to expel them from the party – although they need to vacate their seats in council as they do not represent the 3 000 people who voted them into power. The party attracted 40 percent of the votes in the Pixley ka Seme district. We are preparing to contest more municipalities in the 2024 national general elections.”
He added that the matter would be heard on an urgent basis as they only had seven days after the inauguration ceremony in which they could challenge the appointments.
“It appears as if our members were bought by the ANC – but we won’t allow them to break us down. If we managed to get one percent more, it would have been a hung council. The ANC never saw it coming and are playing dirty. The PR councillors have yet to sign their membership forms. We gave them ample opportunity to do so.”
Februarie explained that he had entered into a non-coalition agreement with the DA.
“We have a common goal to clean up, restore municipalities and get rid of corruption. I voted for the DA speaker and mayoral candidate and nominated the DA exco member while the ANC voted for the SCM members.”
He added that the community had wholeheartedly supported him to be the mayor.
“It is not my choice – but the choice of the voters. I was in Cape Town writing exams when I was asked if I wanted to be mayor and I replied that I did have the capacity. I am the one who attended all the community meetings and lobbied voters. We are not a typical political party and only had interim structures in place. I am not a leader but I am a founding member and by virtue of me being a ward councillor, I am also an exco member. Our list of PR candidates are not the same people who were appointed.”