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Sol confirms acting Speaker

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“Ngoma was just acting Speaker for the duration of that meeting because Johnson was not present,”

OFFICIAL: Benjamin Springbok is officially the acting Speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality and will remain in this position until further notice. This is according to Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE SOL Plaatje Municipality has confirmed that Benjamin Springbok is officially the acting Speaker and will remain in this position until further notice.

Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, explained yesterday that in terms of the Municipal Structures Act, a municipal council by resolution may remove its Speaker from office. “The act further states the prior notice of an intention to move a motion for the removal of the Speaker must be given.

“If the Speaker of a municipal council is absent or not available to perform the functions of Speaker, or during a vacancy, the council must elect another councillor to act as Speaker.”

Matsie stated that a motion was brought to council for the removal of the original Speaker, Santa Johnson. “The motion was included in the agenda of the council meeting for June 6. However, it was not discussed at that meeting.”

Before the items could be discussed, Johnson declared the meeting closed and said the two items (the motion to remove her as well as a motion of no confidence in the executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika) would be discussed at the next meeting to be held later that month.

Before this meeting could take place, however, a special meeting was held to approve the budget. The meeting was boycotted by both Johnson and the DA following questions about whether it had been properly constituted as it had not been called by Johnson.

In the absence of Johnson, Charles Ngoma was elected as acting Speaker to preside over that meeting.

“Ngoma was just acting Speaker for the duration of that meeting because Johnson was not present,” Matsie explained.

The following day, on June 13, a so-called “reconvened” council meeting was held, following a request by the chief whips of the various political parties.

Johnson, as well as members of the DA, walked out before the meeting got under way.

The meeting continued in their absence and the motion of no confidence in Johnson was considered. The motion of no confidence by the DA against Matika was not considered at that meeting because it failed to meet the prescribed criteria, namely that that a motion needed to be received 10 days before it could be considered by council.

The one against Johnson met the necessary criteria and the motion of no confidence against her was accepted by a majority vote of councillors present. At this meeting Springbok was elected to act as Speaker until further notice.

Application

Matsie pointed out that there had been no subsequent notice or application to remove Springbok as acting Speaker.

“At the meeting where the DA led a motion of no confidence in the executive mayor, Boitumelo Stout was appointed to act as the Speaker for that meeting as Springbok was not available to chair the meeting. Stout was therefore only acting in this capacity for the duration of that particular meeting and Springbok will continue to fulfil the role of acting Speaker of the Sol Plaatje City Council until further notice.”

He added that this was confirmed by the minutes of the meeting. “The minutes state that councillor BJ Stout be appointed as acting Speaker for the duration of the meeting.”