Tshwane instability: DA accused of forgery as speaker no confidence motion fails

27 March 2023 - 18:02
By Sisanda Mbolekwa
A City of Tshwane council meeting at Tshwane House. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Image: Veli Nhlapo A City of Tshwane council meeting at Tshwane House. Photo Veli Nhlapo

Chaos ensued in the Tshwane metro council again on Monday as speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana faced a motion of no confidence.

The special council meeting was called by city manager Johann Mettler after claims by the DA multiparty coalition that Ndzwanana was acting unlawfully when he adjourned the previous council sitting intended to elect a new mayor.

Ndzwanana adjourned the meeting, saying he needed to seek legal opinion on COPE filling its single seat after former mayor Murunwa Makwarela resigned.

After Justice Sefanyetso's swearing in as Makwarela's replacement a faction of COPE claimed he has two identity documents and a criminal record — suggesting he should be withdrawn from council.

DA multiparty coalition spokesperson Corne Mulder of the FF Plus said despite the speaker being “compelled to call a meeting at the instruction of a majority of councillors, as stipulated in the Municipal Structures Act, he ignored this directive".

“The adjournment was a blatant attempt to protect his coalition partners in the ANC and EFF from losing the vote now that their programme of vote-buying has been exposed and reversed.

“On Thursday [last week], the multiparty coalition issued legal papers to the speaker and a petition calling for a special council meeting to be called on Friday March 24 to elect the mayor and consider the motion of no confidence in the speaker,” said Mulder.

Monday's meeting was adjourned after allegations that “close to 10 of the signatures” on the petition which called for the meeting did not match those of the alleged signatories.

In a letter addressed to Mettler, which TimesLIVE has seen, a councillor from the Republican Conference of Tshwane Lex Middelberg brought to Mettler's attention the alleged irregularity of the petition.

“Your notice is presumptuous and legally flawed. The notice is short, it was not served, the request is flawed and has not been signed properly. By virtue of the short time demand therein does not allow for the law to run its course as far as time for notice of meetings is required and therefore legally a nullity,” said Middelberg.

Middelberg said he would not attend the meeting as Mettler “had no business forcing issues like he did”.

“At the time when you [Mettler] acted to call the meeting there was no act by the speaker to refuse the request. You descended into the arena to make a value judgment that the speaker had refused when he informed you he was still considering how to respond.”

Middelberg also accused Mettler of not allowing the speaker to complete the verification process of the signatures

“You acted without verifying the signatures to the request. You did not call for reference signatures and you evidently simply assumed all signatures are in order. You have no basis for such an assumption.”

Middelberg said verification of signatures was necessary as it was proved that a previous request in early March by the same parties contained, for example, the signature of a person who was not a councillor and consequently that request was refused.

“That these parties resorted to fraud is in itself another story, but it underlines the need for the speaker (and city manager) to verify every signature individually against a record of reference signatures and to follow up on every doubtful signature,” Middelberg said. 

The ANC in Tshwane slammed the alleged forgery, saying they are not shocked.

Caucus leader Aaron Maluleke said the DA-led coalition has failed to run the city and “has led us to the dismal state of affairs”.

“The AG's report was a final nail on the imploding coalition and they'll do anything to remain in power. They were defeated twice on the elections of the mayor and speaker.

Maluleke said they were dealing with “a desperate bunch that will do anything to get power back”.

DA caucus leader Jacqui Uys denied the claims of forgery and said the petition was signed by all councillors of the multiparty coalition who constitute a majority in council. Uys said the coalition was correct to demand an urgent council meeting and the removal of Ndzwanana as the petition proved the majority voice in council.

After the adjournment of Monday's meeting, another meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, which would be the third attempt to elect a mayor after Makwarela's resignation in March.

TimesLIVE

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