Gauteng human settlements, urban planning, and cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Lebogang Maile has until 5pm on Friday to withdraw his decision to suspend both Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe and Johannesburg speaker Vasco da Gama, according to the DA.
In a letter to Maile, the DA outlines that should Maile fail to rescind his decision, the party would launch urgent proceedings to have his decision set aside and request cost orders against him.
In a letter from Minde Schapiro and Smith attorneys to Maile, the DA claim Maile’s actions show that his decision was not to discipline Mathebe and DA Gama but that the decision was taken in “pursuit of an ulterior purpose”.
The letter states that Maile’s decision was unlawful as item 14(6)(a) of the Code of Conduct for Councillors (schedule 1 to Act 32 of 2000) outlined that he was not authorised in his decision.
“Item 14 only authorises you to investigate and sanction councillors in response to a request from a municipal council. This has been confirmed by the high court in Van Wyk v Uys No 2002 950 SA 92 9C0 and City of Cape Town v Premier, Western Cape 2008 (6)SA 345 (C).”
The party described Maile’s decision to put both speakers on suspension as political harassment, arguing that Maile could not suspend or remove a councillor from office without obtaining a council resolution.
Da Gama and Mathebe have been placed on suspension by Maile, who believes they may have brought council into disrepute.
The ANC has rallied behind Maile, who placed Da Gama on three months suspension without pay, while Mathebe was placed on six months suspension.
ANC spokesperson Bones Modise said the party welcomed and supported Maile’s decision and reasons presented by him.
“Both councillors [Da Gama and Mathebe] decided to put their narrow political interests before the people of both City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane and brought council into disrepute.”
“MEC Maile exercised his responsibilities as enshrined in the constitution and therefore that cannot be viewed as a bullying tactic.”
The ANC said Da Gama and Mathebe placed the interests of the DA ahead of those of residents and acted in a manner that sought to subvert the democratic processes in council.