Following the suspension of the Tshwane speaker, the ANC in the capital city are striking while the iron is hot and are calling for the continuation of a special council meeting to table motions of no confidence against the mayor and three others.
On Thursday, Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile announced the suspension of Katlego Mathebe, the speaker of the Tshwane council.
Maile’s rationale behind Mathebe’s six-month suspension without pay follows a special council sitting where she refused to bend to calls by the ANC and EFF to change the order in which motions of no confidence would be heard.
The sitting, which was held earlier this month, was meant to deal with motions against the mayor, speaker, chair of chairs and acting speaker.
According to the sequence of the motions as set out by Mathebe, her motion would have been heard last, allowing her to preside over the other three before recusing herself.
The ANC and EFF, who called for the special sitting, wanted Mathebe’s motion to be heard first. However, after being frustrated by Mathebe’s stonewalling of their requests, they staged a walk-out and the council subsequently collapsed.
The ANC in Tshwane announced on Friday that it will be submitting a letter to the acting city manager to convene the continuation of the special council meeting.
In Mathebe’s absence, the acting city manager now holds the responsibility of calling council meetings.
“We will request that the meeting be held on Tuesday, January 28 at 10:00, so that we finalise motions of no confidence on all DA presiding officers and the AWOL executive mayor,” Tshwane ANC chairperson Kgosi Maepa said.
Maepa said they would be bringing a motion to revoke a 2017 council resolution that appointed DA councillor Zweli Khumalo as acting speaker in the event that Mathebe was unavailable or unable to perform her duties for any specific reason.
Maepa added that the acting city manager would also preside over the appointment of an acting speaker to preside over the motions.
Thereafter they want to continue with the unfinished business, being the motions of no confidence against mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, Mathebe, Khumalo and the chair of chairs.
Maepa said the decision to suspend Mathebe was correct and well-articulated as she is “an arrogant, dishonest, delinquent and abhorrent speaker of the DA, who is also purporting to be a speaker of council”.
“The suspension was largely expected. The speaker failed dismally to use the provisions in the Constitution and in particular the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act (MSA),” Maepa said.
“The speaker ignored at least three requests to meet majority councillors (and/or petitioners) to set up a programming committee to prepare for the council meeting and consider an agenda as drafted by the petitioners. She disregarded provisions of section 29 (1) of the MSA.”
“The ANC is happy to see her go and we hope that her suspension without pay will be a deterrent for other DA councillors who undermine Constitutional provisions and the Code of Conduct for Councillors.”
Following Maile’s announcement that Mathebe and former Johannesburg speaker Vasco da Gama have been suspended, DA leader John Steenhuisen spared no time in releasing a statement threatening to take the decision to court.
Steenhuisen said the DA would not give in to bullying tactics by Maile, adding that their lawyers would review the legal merits of the two councillors’ suspension.
Maile said the decision to suspend both councillors was consistent with the law and he was prepared to go to the courts to defend the decision.
He added that the decision was “impartial to avoid any accusation of tilting the balance of forces in councils to favour a particular political party”.
Maepa said the ANC in Tshwane would be party to the legal proceedings if the DA approached the courts for relief.
“The DA always abuse court process for nefarious ends, but their day will come and all will be exposed. The DA is using lawfare as a means to an end and not an ending itself,” Maepa said.