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Sol Speaker faces the axe


It was apparently agreed that Johnson would step down as Speaker and instead serve as the ANC chief whip

Sol Plaatje Municipality Speaker Elizabeth Johnson. Picture: Soraya Crowie.

A SUPPOSED motion calling for the removal of Sol Plaatje Municipality Speaker Elizabeth Johnson did not go ahead as planned during a special council meeting that was convened on Friday.

It is believed that the leadership of the ANC Frances Baard district held meetings to discuss a council reshuffle at Sol Plaatje Municipality and Frances Baard District Municipality on Friday, although they did not wish to confirm or deny any changes at the time of going to press.

It was apparently agreed that Johnson would step down as Speaker and instead serve as the ANC chief whip at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

This comes amid growing tensions between the Speaker and mayor that has at times threatened to render council ungovernable.

It was also rumoured that ANC Francis Baard regional deputy secretary Wendy Mareke would be appointed as the Frances Baard district mayor.

It was announced at the council meeting that Sol Plaatje Municipality councillors Pula Thabane and HM Mpanza would be deployed to Frances Baard District Municipality.

Two councillors from Francis Baard, Mary Sebogo and Nomdusa Buda, will in turn be sent to Sol Plaatje Municipality.

During the council meeting, Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika reprimanded councillors for the chaos that took place during the last council meeting, where a 20-minute screaming match took place between councillors.

“Discipline is deteriorating. All of us, irrespective of our political affiliations, are not above the rules that guide the chambers. We do not want a repeat of the drama of the previous meeting. The chairperson (Speaker) of the house must ensure that the rules are enforced.”

Matika also singled out councillors who were absconding from their duties by not attending committee meetings.

“The ANC has noted the seriousness of committees not being able to form a quorum, which in turn affects oversight responsibilities and service delivery.”

Matika pointed out to the opposition that the ANC did not interfere in the affairs of the DA councillors, who indicated that procedures were not being followed. “It is the prerogative of the ANC to appoint councillors. We have never changed any member of the DA.”

EFF councillor Frances Thulo was repeatedly instructed to take his seat whenever he raised an objection, amid furious paper waving.

“Can’t you read chief, eh?” he asked ANC councillors.

ANC Frances Baard regional spokesperson Tshepo Louw would not confirm or deny the reshuffle.

“We will hold a press briefing on Tuesday (tomorrow) to clarify all the issues. The councillors that will be redeployed resigned on Friday so that they can take up their new posts.”

ANC provincial spokesperson Naledi Gaosekwe said that there were ongoing engagements between the regional executive committee and the provincial executive committee.

“Once all ANC processes are completed, a press briefing will be held.”