DA not invited to Phokwane meetings

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader:

The Democratic Alliance is shocked and dismayed that none of the opposition councillors were invited to a recent meeting held between the department of COGHSTA and the ANC-councillors of the Phokwane municipality. It was after this meeting that the appointments of a new mayor, speaker, chief whip and municipal manager were announced. The legitimacy of these appointments hangs in the balance.

The MEC for COGHSTA must remember that meetings between the department and a council is for the whole council. It is not an ANC branch meeting. It is ironic that the MEC acknowledges the ‘vital role’ played by local councillors while he seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the council. In terms of section 36 and section 41 of the Municipal Structures Act, the election of speakers and acting speakers is a council matter that must be decided on by the council. Similarly, section 48 of the Municipal Structures Act states that mayors must be elected by the council.

It is not the MEC’s task to appoint officials who should be elected.

In fact, this micromanagement by the MEC could create a burden of loyalty on officials who will be expected to dance to the MEC’s tune.

The first loyalty of elected officials should never be to politicians, but to the people who elected them.

We are also given to understand that the meeting between the department and the ANC-part of the council included training on the ‘Back to Basics’ programme. Since the opposition councillors have missed out on this training, the department must go back next week and give the training again.

We welcome the fact that the MEC is trying to do something about the poor administration of Phokwane. We encourage him to follow the correct procedures and to do things the right, legal way.