DA councillor removed from eThekwini council exco in 'illegal' motion

01 March 2024 - 12:11
DA councillor Andre Beetge was removed as a member of the eThekwini council exco.
Image: Andre Beegte/Facebook DA councillor Andre Beetge was removed as a member of the eThekwini council exco.

DA councillor Andre Beetge was removed as a member of the eThekwini executive committee (exco) on Thursday as the ANC fights back against opposition parties who file motions of no confidence against its members.

The motion was sponsored by ANC councillor Ntando Khuzwayo who claimed Beetge's behaviour, particularly during the motion to remove mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, was not in keeping with that of an exco member.

“During a recent deliberation concerning the motion against the mayor, Beetge, in his capacity as exco member, failed to uphold the responsibilities inherent in his position. His conduct during these proceedings has undermined the trust relationship between himself and the mayor who chairs the committee,” he said.

“Beetge's actions have not only compromised the effectiveness of the exco, but also damaged the integrity and trust in the municipality’s leadership structure.”

Another ANC councillor, Sbusiso Ngcongo, said Beetge had not behaved in an “exemplary” manner during council meetings.

“At one of the meetings he was chased out. That is ill-discipline. Being a member of the executive committee, you need to ensure you conduct yourself in a disciplined manner and all you do is exemplary to the council.”

Thanduxolo Sabelo, also from the ANC, said Beetge was not conducting meetings in his ward and the DA was not holding him to account.

“We are responsible to ensure all wards are functioning. We have been to his ward and residents are complaining they don’t know him, he doesn’t go to his ward to work. It’s our responsibility to ensure he can’t sit in the executive when he does not do the work of his ward.”

This move indicates the ANC is following up on its warning that it would start filing motions of no confidence in opposition parties after the IFP’s attempt to dislodge Kaunda and the DA's unsuccessful move to dissolve the council.

ANC councillor Nkosenhle Madlala warned in the previous council meeting the party would start filing motions against opposition parties, beginning with the meeting on Thursday.

“We all need to understand we can exercise our democratic rights. Motions cannot only be raised by the DA against the ANC. The ANC can also raise a motion against the DA and we’re going to teach you how you carry it through by removing Beetge,” Sabelo said before councillors voted on the motion.

“What the DA needs to know is when we say we’re leading this municipality we mean it.”

The permissibility of the motion, however, was contested by DA councillors.

The DA argued the notice of motion exceeded the stipulated 150 words, was not urgent and should not be entertained as it was not in compliance with the Structures Act.

The DA asked that speaker Thabani Nyawose consult the head of legal for his opinion, which the speaker dismissed, saying the motion had been to the legal team before being presented in council.

DA councillor Yogiswarie Govender also questioned the authenticity of the motion, saying it was received on Monday but has a stamp of February 15.

“This raises a huge cloud against the authenticity of its receipt.”

DA caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa said Nyawose was opening himself up to “very serious litigation” by entertaining a motion that was not “legally compliant”.

The motion to remove Beetge was passed with a vote of 109 while the EFF's 20 councillors abstained.

The DA and IFP boycotted the voting.

Reacting to the outcome of the motion, Mthethwa condemned the “undemocratic behaviour” by the ANC councillors and those of the bloc of smaller parties, as well as that of Nyawose.

He said parties using their “majority to target opposition members and remove them from exco” was unheard of in 30 years of democracy.

“Today [Thursday] we saw the ANC, supported by their cash-envelope-paid smaller parties, abuse this legislation to remove Beetge without good cause.

“This action sets a dangerous precedent which could become a trend if this plays itself out across the province which will equally have consequences for the ANC in municipalities where they are not in the majority.”

He urged the ANC leadership to reconsider “before it’s too late”.

Meanwhile, Nyawose survived a motion of no confidence.

IFP councillor Mzwethu Gwala sponsored the motion, saying Nyawose’s conduct during council meetings had brought instability to full council meetings over the past 24 months.

That motion failed, as 108 councillors voted against, defeating the 74 who supported it, while the EFFs 20 councillors abstained.