DA to challenge Rustenburg municipal manager's suspension in court

Rustenburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is planning to turn to the courts in an attempt to overturn decisions taken at a special Rustenburg council meeting in which municipal manager, Bheki Khenisa, was suspended, the party said on Monday.

Khenisa was suspended at the special council meeting on Monday after being charged with misconduct related to unspent conditional grants.

In the previous special council meeting held on December 11, opposition parties staged a walkout in protest at the motion to suspend Khenisa. They were joined by some ANC councillors, who also walked out of the session.

This resulted in the meeting not being able proceed as it did not have the required number of councillors. The special council meeting was then convened on Monday.

The DA and other opposition parties boycotted that meeting too. DA caucus leader Gert du Plessis said the party could not attend as some councillors only received the agenda on Saturday, while other councillors did not get agendas at all.

"According to the rules of order, councillors must receive the agenda four or two days before the meeting. In this case the rules of order were not followed," he said.

"Again the Speaker in the last meeting indicated that there will be no other meeting this year. DA councillors were already on holiday when we informed of the meeting..."

Rollover for third consecutive year

He said the DA would approach the court to seek an interdict to set aside all decisions taken at the December 21 meeting.

"We are not opposed to investigations that are instituted against the municipal manager, [but] our opinion is that he could not be the only person carrying the blame.

"The mayor, the chief financial officer, directors and unit managers are to be blamed. They are the ones who must spend the grant, but they are restricted because if they spent the conditional grant there would have been no money in the account," Du Plessis said.

The Rustenburg local municipality did not spend conditional grants from national treasury amounting to R426.9m.

The municipality applied to Treasury to roll over the unspent grants, but the application was rejected.

National Treasury, in a letter, said the rollover application was rejected because the municipality had requested the rollover for public transport infrastructure grant (PTIG) and municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) for the third consecutive year.

For the integrated national electrification programme (INEP) and expanded public works programme (EPWP), the rollover requests were more than the 2014/15 allocations.

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