Werner le Grange:
DA Chief Whip – Mbombela local municipality:
The ANC in Mbombela has once again undermined the authority of an elected Council to conduct oversight and accountability over the affairs of the executive.
During the Ordinary Council Meeting on 26 February, the ANC tried to prevent the DA from submitting its motion to Council – where the DA wanted Council to appoint an independent investigator to investigate allegations of misconduct against the Municipal Manager, Noko Seanego. The DA also wanted that the alleged misconduct of mayoral committee member, Councillor Bheki Zulu, be referred to the Rules and Ethics Committee of Council to be investigated.
The Mayor Sibusiso Mathonsi, instead submitted a report to Council that was discussed in a closed meeting in which he is to appoint his own independent investigator to investigate the allegations against the Municipal Manager and Cllr Zulu.
The surprise announcement by the Mayor to appoint an investigator, after he believed there were no reasons for disciplinary action against the Municipal Manager, can only be seen as a result of the pressure by the DA that Council takes action and ensure a transparent and accountable process in dealing with the matter.
However, the decision by the ANC in Council to allow the Mayor to appoint his own investigator to investigate the alleged misconduct charges – is in contradiction of all rules and regulations in dealing with misconduct against municipal officials as stipulated in the Code of Conduct for Senior Managers and the Standing Orders of Council.
The Code gives Council the authority to deal with these matters as an institution responsible for ensuring accountability by the executive. This is proof of an attempt by the ANC to control and influence the investigation to prevent any real accountability from taking place through an open and transparent way.
The actions by the Mayor and ANC who supports this, has once again undermined the authority of an elected Council to conduct oversight and accountability over the affairs of the executive and has let voters down. It is a growing trend in the ANC to break all rules in order to protect their own from being held accountable.
The DA in Mbombela has through its members of the provincial legislature written to the MEC of Cooperative Governance, Refilwe Mtshweni, to investigate the undermining of Council. If we don’t get a satisfactory response from the MEC, we will take this matter with the Minister of CoGTA.