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Our city’s next chapter

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First up on the order of business for today’s council meeting will be the election of a new executive mayor and Speaker for the city

Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE NEXT chapter in the ongoing saga of the now-almost collapsed Sol Plaatje City Council is set to take centre court today.

The city’s former executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, was on Friday already inaugurated as a Member of the Provincial Legislature after he was forced to resign following unprecedented community protests.

But while he might be out of the council, he certainly hasn’t been left high and dry and rumour is that he has been earmarked for a MEC post.

First up on the order of business for today’s council meeting will be the election of a new executive mayor and Speaker for the city.

That is if the meeting even takes place – the last one, supposedly to vote in Patrick Mabilo (whose position in the legislature has already been filled by Matika) as mayor, was plunged into anarchy. The symbols of this esteemed position as the city’s First Citizen, namely the mayoral gown and chain, had to be whisked away to safety as water bottles and tins of energy drinks were hurled across the chamber floor.

Mabilo is no stranger to controversy and in 2014 the Hawks confirmed that they were investigating a fraud case relating to his credit card. He was also charged for animal abuse in 2014 while he was MEC for the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, when his two dogs were found to be severely malnourished and infested with ticks.

Thrown into the mix are the 11 ANC councillors who sided with the DA in the vote of no confidence in Matika and who, themselves, have a sword hanging over their heads regarding their own futures as councillors.

All eyes will be on today’s council meeting. The people of Kimberley desperately need – and deserve – a strong mayor who can inspire the much lacking confidence in the council and the city and unify the city’s fathers. If the city council cannot settle down and do its work, without infighting and political interference, the next step will be to place it under administration.

The highly anticipated Section 106 report into alleged maladministration, fraud, corruption and malpractice at Sol Plaatje Municipality, which resulted in the suspensions of the city’s municipal manager, Goolam Akharwaray, and CFO, Lydia Mahloko, is also due to be released at today’s special council meeting.

Both Akharwaray and Mahloko have been on suspension with full pay for two months already.

We eagerly await the outcome of this report.

It goes without saying that any allegations of corruption by municipal officials must be thoroughly investigated the minute a red flag is raised and those found guilty must be booted – irrespective of their political connections – while the onus is on provincial MECs, like Coghsta’s Bently Vass, to ensure proper monitoring and evaluation of local municipalities to prevent them from collapsing totally.