Limpopo councillors physically removed by police

2014-11-05 11:32

Nine former councillors from Limpopo’s Mogalakwena municipality had to be removed from council premises after refusing to leave, police said.

The nine challenged their dismissal in the North Gauteng High Court, Colonel Ronel Otto said today.

“The high court enforced the dismissal. On Monday, they were still on the municipal premises, although they had been dismissed.”

They ignored instructions to leave as they were trespassing.

“The new councillors asked the police to escort them into chambers,” Otto said.

“We forced open the gate, and we forced open the door to chambers, and then we basically escorted those dismissed councillors out of the building and let them go.”

No arrests were made and no cases opened.

The provincial cooperative governance, human settlements, and traditional affairs department was not immediately available for comment.

On August 22, the African National Congress said its national disciplinary committee had dismissed an application by 22 Mogalakwena councillors for a review of their expulsions from the party.

“The disciplinary committee rejected the five arguments presented by the councillors and provided full reasons in its nine-page finding,” committee chairperson Derek Hanekom said at the time.

The councillors were expelled on July 6. They claimed the provincial disciplinary committee’s hearing was irregular.

Hanekom said the national committee found the failure by the 22 to attend the disciplinary hearing, held between June 27 and 29, prejudiced their case and they had no valid excuse for not attending.

They were suspended after reports that they attended a council meeting with opposition parties in April, where discussions around removing the mayor, chief whip and some members of the executive committee, were held.

Yesterday, Democratic Alliance police spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard said that police had staged a “coup d’etat” at the municipality.

She claimed police had acted without a warrant, court order, or in accordance with provincial or national instruction.

“They allegedly arrested the municipal manager and forced the council to swear in nine new councillors,” Kohler Barnard said.

“This meeting had no notice, agenda or democratic mandate and therefore has to be considered illegal.”

AfriForum said today the police’s “invasion” of the municipality could possibly be declared an act of terrorism, according to legislation.

“Although the reason for the invasion is still unclear, AfriForum suspects political foul play,” head of community safety Ian Cameron said.

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