Tshwane mayor Randall Williams’ resignation wreaks havoc, speaker postpones urgent council meetings
The resignation of Tshwane mayor Randall Williams has plunged the council into chaos after two meetings billed for Wednesday were abandoned at the last minute.
The first meeting was meant to deal with the city’s annual report, which has two versions. The second meeting was meant to deal with Williams’ resignation, which has created headaches for council speaker Murunwa Makwarela.
Williams, in his first resignation letter, said he would be gone as of Monday at midnight.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, when Williams learnt that the city would not be able to proceed with the tabling of the annual report in his absence, he amended his resignation to reflect that it would kick into effect only on February 28.
Williams threw another spanner in the works when he suddenly asked for a leave of absence until month end when his resignation comes into effect.
This created a legal quagmire since the law was not clear on whether a mayor who has resigned is empowered to appoint an acting mayor from members of the mayoral committee, which Williams attempted to do.
Despite the confusion, the appointed acting mayor told the speaker they were not ready to table the report since they needed more time to familiarise themselves with it.
This left Makwarela with no choice but to call off the two council meetings scheduled for Wednesday.
Makwarela will now convene an ordinary meeting next Thursday in which the two matters meant for Wednesday will be squeezed into an already jam-packed agenda, he told TimesLIVE.
The speaker said the city was now playing in the danger zone on deadlines set to deal with the annual report, and could not afford further postponements.
“The annual report has indicated that the city did very badly. There are many billions of rand that we cannot account for. It is an indictment on the state of service delivery in the city,” said Makwarela.
“On Friday I got a tipoff from an independent auditor to say parts of the annual report are very wrong and he went on to submit to me the correct version.
“As soon as I appreciated that correction, I called a special council sitting to retable the report with the correct information because the independent auditor, Robert Cameron Ellis, said he was distancing himself from the first one.”
Makwarela said he informed the council on Friday that it must convene, only to be “shocked” on Monday by the news of the mayor’s resignation which then transformed into its “conflicting” versions until Wednesday morning, forcing him to call the meeting off.
“I had to cancel today’s council meeting to allow the mayoral committee to process the annual report because it is already late. Next Thursday we will have our ordinary meeting to add these matters into our already big agenda, which is not desirable.”
ANC Tshwane regional secretary George Matjila said they were taken by surprise that a city “without a mayor” has the luxury to postpone council meetings at the last minute without clear reasons for doing so.
“We are not sure as to the reasons. Where we stand, there is no mayor in the City of Tshwane, he has put in his resignation. That is where we are,” said Matjila.
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