Home News Sol Speaker cancels council meeting to ’babysit’ officials

Sol Speaker cancels council meeting to ’babysit’ officials

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Sol Plaatje Municipality has been accused of brushing off the electricity tariff increase discussion during this week’s council meeting and instead ’babysitting’ officials attending to water leakages and sewage flooding in Roodepan.

Executive mayor Kagisho Sonyoni dressed in orange municipal overalls during the oversight visit in Roodepan. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SOL PLAATJE Municipality was accused of flouting the electricity tariff increase discussion during this week’s council meeting and instead “babysitting” officials attending to water leakages and sewage flooding in Roodepan.

Wednesday’s council meeting was supposed to be a continuation from last week to discuss the electricity tariffs, of which the annual increases have already been implemented despite not yet having passed before council.

The proposed increases have also not yet been approved by Nersa.

Also on the agenda was the appointment of the new municipal manager.

Apparently, the Speaker, Nomazizi Maputle, the executive mayor, Kagisho Sonyoni, and the entire mayoral committee showed up to the council meeting dressed in overalls, before the Speaker made the announcement that they are going to Roodepan.

All the councillors accompanied the mayor and the Speaker to Roodepan.

No postponement date was announced.

The DA has reported Maputle to the Speaker’s Forum after she cancelled the meeting, which was deemed important.

DA councillor Elize Niemann said the electricity tariff issue affects the whole of Kimberley and should not be neglected because “the Speaker has just woken up to a long-standing crisis in an ANC ward” that has already been reported to the municipality by the DA.

Niemann added that the decision by the Speaker, the mayor and the mayoral committee to show up to the council meeting in overalls was “disingenuous”.

“It is not their responsibility to physically attend to sewage leaks. It is also not their responsibility to oversee the officials who have been sent to the site to attend to the sewage matter,” said Niemann.

“If they are of the view that the officials do not work when they are not there to oversee them, then they need to implement a form of consequence management to ensure that ill-disciplined officials are held accountable.

“Sol Plaatje has so much broken infrastructure that if the Speaker wants to personally go and oversee the repair of all service delivery at the cost of council meetings, then none will ever take place.”

Elaborating on the Speaker’s role, the DA said she has a duty to see that council meetings take place, are duly called by her and are properly constituted.

“It is time that we nip any further bad behaviour in the bud. For a municipality to function properly, the council must function properly.”

The Sol Plaatje delegation meanwhile walked through the muddy streets in Roodepan – from Raven Street to Jupiters Street – doing inspections.

A few stops were made at several houses where workers from the Roads and Stormwater department performed repairs on leaking water pipes.

The mayor brushed off the claims that the council meeting was cancelled and said there was no council meeting planned for Wednesday.

Sonyoni said they were walking the streets in order to identify the cause of the constant flooding in Raven Street.

He said their intention was to fix the problem on the same day after finding the root cause.

According to Sonyoni, the site visit was triggered by an oversight visit conducted by the municipality to Roodepan on Tuesday.

“This forms part of the municipality’s effort to address the service delivery challenges in various communities. After the oversight visit, we engaged in order to strategise on how to resolve the challenges. We only found out about these leakages yesterday(Tuesday),” said Sonyoni.

“We will focus on other problematic areas after this and conduct an oversight visit in a different area every Tuesday.”

Sonyoni pointed out that Kimberley is experiencing a number of challenges due to outdated infrastructure.

“The problem is that Kimberley is a developing city dependent on the old infrastructure.”

Poncho Mocoana, an EFF councillor, said they were supposed to have a council sitting when the Speaker proposed that there is an urgent matter that needed to be attended to.

Mocoana believes that the decision to postpone the meeting was taken during a prior ANC caucus meeting.

“We were supposed to discuss the Nersa report and the appointment of the new municipal manager,” said Mocoana. “They decided to postpone the meeting to come and attend here, without even giving another date.

“We asked them what it is specifically that the municipal team is coming to do here, instead of the workers attending to it themselves while we were busy with the council meeting.

“We saw this as a political stunt and decided to join the ANC councillors as the opposition, to join them in attending to the issue.”

Councillors performed an oversight visit to Roodepan, where major water leaks and potholes have been reported. Picture: Soraya Crowie

A massive pothole at the four-way intersection on the corner of Raven and Starling streets. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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