New rules for unruly councillors

2013-12-27 00:00

THE eThekwini municipality have amended a new code of conduct for councillors in a bid to prevent disorder during council meetings, especially by attendees who walk out of meetings and disobey warnings from the speaker.

Officials say the recently amended Rules of Order by Law will tighten order during meetings and ensure members attending meetings behave and maintain orderly conduct.

The 34-page document outlines the manner in which councillors are required to conduct themselves during council gatherings. According to the code of conduct councillors are instructed “not to use offensive ­language”; “not to use cellular phones during meetings”; and “not to bring a firearm or any dangerous weapon into a meeting of council or any of its committees”.

Members from opposition parties say that the conduct of councillors who attend the meetings is often out of order and at times meetings become chaotic.

DA councillor Heinz de Boer said there were had been no instances of physical violence but “verbal wars” hampered meetings, and there was an increase in tension at meetings as elections were nearing.

Minority Front (MF) council member Patrick Pillay said that the code of conduct for councillors often needs to be amended according to the behaviour of councillors during meetings.

Reacting to criticism on his role as speaker, eThekwini speaker Logie Naidoo said he strove to achieve a neutral standing in terms of legislation during meetings and disciplines each councillor who is out of order appropriately.

“I am told by members of the meeting that I am too harsh on some and not harsh enough on others,” he said.

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