Byline: Andani Matumba

07 June 2022

A day that was started as by the state of the municipality address ended by the removal of some of the councillors who are also chairpersons of council committees. 

During the council meeting held on Tuesday, 31 May 2022 the whip of council, Cllr Mtshweni submitted a motion for the removal of the chairperson of Mpac, Cllr Ciska Jordaan, Chairperson of the Ethics and Rules Committee and Cllr Encee van Huyssteen.

Former Chairperson of Mpac, Cllr Ciska Jordaan

This did not come as a surprise as the Executive Mayor of Govan Mbeki Municipality, Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma had made an utterance of the intention to remove the councillors who stayed away from council meetings during the previous council meeting which was held on 28 April 2022.

Cllr Zuma stated that section 79 committees are key committee’s which are responsible for the efficient and effective functioning of the council, therefore if the chairpersons of those committees just decide to stay away without any written apology or valid reason it simply illustrates that they no longer have interest in their roles as chairperson of the committee.

“We have to remove them and appoint people who are interested in executing their duties,” said Cllr Zuma

The motion was adopted and voted on by the vote of 26 representation from the ANC which was for the adoption of the motion and 2 votes against the motion from VF+ meanwhile councillors from the EFF, ATM, IFP and other oppositions withheld their votes.

The council further went and voted for the new Chairpersons to fill the positions with Cllr Oupa Sibanyoni elected as new chairperson of Mpac and Cllr Thabiso Mofokeng elected as new chairperson of rules committee.

Newly Appointed Chairperson of Mpac, Cllr Oupa Sibanyoni

During his appointment, Cllr Sibanyoni said he had already tendered his resignation as the MMC of Community Service suggesting that he knew about his appointment before the motion was presented to council.

Another motion shall be presented for adoption which is for the removal of councillors who have absented themselves for more than 3 times in a row at council meetings without a written apology and requested the office of the Speaker to consolidate the list. 

PR Cllr Nel-Buitendag during the council meeting argued that this is just the spiteful act by the ANC and that the rules of council should apply across board as the speaker was voted out but profusely remains in office.

“This is a game of vergence, why was the speaker not removed the same way since the motion for her removal was also put to a vote but she continues to execute her duties as the speaker.”

According to a statement released by the Cllr Ciska Jordaan the meeting on 31 May 2022 was an illicit meeting since it was called by an illegitimate Speaker, Fikile Magagamela, who further presided that meeting.

” Magagamela refuses to step down after being ousted via a motion of no confidence on the 31st March 2022.

The Democratic Alliance has not been attending any meetings called by her due to her unlawful occupation as the chairperson of the council, as we await the outcome of a court hearing that would consider the matter on the 14th of June 2022,” said Cllr Jordaan.

The DA stated further that all these committees are oversight committees, intending to be the watchdogs of public funds and order in the council.

“The replacement of Cllr Jordaan with a councillor from the ruling party is in contravention with the terms of reference for MPAC which was adopted by the council earlier this year, clearly stating that the chairperson of this committee must originate from the opposition.

Allowing the ANC to nominate a candidate into this space would mean that the ANC will now be the player and the referee in the management of public funds”.

It is alleged that Cllr Jordaan was removed from office a mere two weeks before the submission of the Oversight Report which raises suspicion on the ruling party.

This also follows after the Cllr Jordaan had publicly her intentions of the recovery of funds from officials responsible for irregular expenditure as well as the referral of officials to the disciplinary board for wasting tens of millions of grant funding on failing projects resulting in National Treasury withholding several grants from the municipality for the following financial year – a devastating loss to our municipality.

“They dictate over council processes as if they are not accountable to legislation.

They also avoid transparency at all costs and have now appointed the EFF as co-conductors of the gravy train that is the Govan Mbeki Council by including one of their councillors in the Mayoral Committee,” said Cllr Jordaan.

In closing of the DA statement, Cllr Jordaan said the will continue to advocate for transparency and good governance, and campaign for an overwhelming majority that would showcase the DA difference that can be seen in municipalities where the DA governs.