Samwu local secretary claimed that some councillors had intimidated and harassed her in the presence of a police officer who wanted to obtain a statement from them.
A COMPLAINANT, who opened charges against Sol Plaatje municipal councillors for contravening the lockdown regulations when they held a special council meeting to appoint an acting municipal manager, has obtained a protection order against councillors who are allegedly harassing and intimidating her.
SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) local secretary Nomathamsanqa Banda stated on Thursday that since the original case was opened on May 3, no arrests had been made.
“The docket was removed from the investigating officer and transferred to the Office of the Provincial Commissioner. We have been sent from pillar to post,” said Banda.
She added that the union was attending to matters relating to the Covid-19 pandemic at the time that the council meeting took place on April 29.
“We had scheduled a meeting with the acting municipal manager, Thami Mabija, to discuss the danger allowances of municipal workers and who would be working under the Level 4 restrictions. At this time, council had appointed Boy Dhluwayo as the acting municipal manager.”
Banda claimed that some councillors had intimidated and harassed her in the presence of a police officer who wanted to obtain a statement from them.
“My application for an interdict against the councillors will be heard in the Northern Cape High Court on June 30.”
In a letter addressed to the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Risimati Shivuri, the chairperson of the Northern Cape Civics Organisation, Ross Henderson, stated that they would give him until May 26 to provide reasons as to why the docket was transferred to his office.
“We will assist the complainant to file an urgent interdict through our legal unit, on a pro bono basis. Our organisational policy is to assist vulnerable litigants when their rights have been violated. An impression is being created that certain individuals are immune to the law while whistle-blowers are being threatened,” said Henderson.
“This is while ministers and mayors have been held publicly accountable for contravening the Covid-19 regulations.”
Henderson added that their legal department would also bring an urgent application before the high court, in order for the full reasons to be furnished as to why the case docket was removed from the investigating officer, apparently upon Shivuri’s instructions.
He indicated that his client believed that there had been undue interference in the handling of the investigation.
“She is not comfortable with the manner in which the criminal investigation was conducted, especially when the investigating officer was removed from the case. There is no sensible clarity given why the docket was transferred to the Provincial Commissioner’s office. My client was verbally abused and physically threatened by certain councillors.”
“The Disaster Management Act regulations are supposed to be non-negotiable. Surely all dockets are brought before the senior State prosecutor upon finalisation of an investigation. What is so special about this investigation that the docket had to be removed from a competent investigating officer and left with the Provincial Commissioner’s office?”
Henderson pointed out that the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Bentley Vass, as well as Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo, had declared the meeting that was convened as irregular and reversed the decision taken to appoint Dhluwayo as the acting municipal manager.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba stated that the case was being investigated by the Kimberley Detectives unit.
“The docket will be brought before the senior State prosecutor for a decision once the investigation is finalised,” said Ramatseba.