The DA had on Tuesday submitted a formal request to the acting speaker, Ben Springbok, to ask for the tabling of a motion of urgency to remove Matika. The DA whip in the municipality, Christopher Phiri, told OFM News that 34 of 64 councillors voted for Matika to be removed on Wednesday.
These apparently included ANC councillors. Protesters had threatened to bring the city to a standstill if Matika was not removed. Violent protests have blighted the city for the past two weeks.
Pule Thabane was elected acting mayor. Boitumelo Stout will act as the speaker, the website has reported.
ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga, however, called the meeting that removed Matika a “bogus council meeting”.
In a statement he said: “This meeting is illegal and the ANC will seek an urgent court order to set it aside. This is a desperate attempt by the DA to take over the governance of the city through a ‘coup d’etat’.
“As for the ANC councillors that collaborated with the opposition, the ANC constitution dictates that they must summarily be suspended and subjected to a disciplinary process. These comrades will now be subjected to the ANC constitutional processes,” said Ngxanga.
“ANC councillors are cautioned against voting with the opposition. It is hypocritical of the DA to want members of the ANC to vote with them when they don’t allow their members to vote with other parties.”
The chief financial officer, Lydia Mahloko, and municipal manager Goolam Akharwaray had also earlier been placed on precautionary suspension following violent service delivery protests in Kimberley over high electricity tariffs.
The DA appealed to Thabane to avoid the errors his predecessor had made and to prioritise the needs of the people above politics.
“We hope that Matika’s removal will avert the shutdown and allow for the normal operation of schools, hospitals, clinics and other government services tomorrow. The previous shutdown resulted in unprecedented damage to property, loss of income and looting as a criminal element attempted to hijack the matter.
“Kimberley simply cannot afford a repeat of this situation to happen,” said DA leader Andrew Louw.