Vacant seat in council filled

2017-03-15 06:02

The DA in the Free State has filled the vacant seat in the coalition-run Metsimaholo Local Municipality after a favourable high court victory.

The party has appointed Jeff Zwane as councillor to fill the vacant position. He is from Sasolburg.

This came after the Bloemfontein High Court dismissed with costs the attempt by Steve Molala, Metsimaholo municipal manager, to prevent the DA from filling the vacant seat in the council.

Patricia Kopane, DA leader in the Free State and member of parliament, said the seat became vacant after the DA’s Federal Legal Commission terminated the membership of former councillor Benjamin Mothibe after discovering he had been working with the ANC.

“Molala wrongly interfered in the DA’s termination of membership of the former councillor.

“Upon the DA terminating Mothibe’s party membership, he immediately lost his seat in council and a vacancy should have been declared by the municipal manager, yet Molala refused to do so,” said Kopane.

“The law is clear and Section 27(c) and (f) of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 states: ‘A councillor vacates office during a term of office if that councillor (c) was elected from a party list referred to in Schedule 1 or 2 and ceases to be a member of the relevant party; and (f) was elected to represent a ward and who (i) was nominated by a party as a candidate in the ward election and ceases to be a member of that party’,” Kopane explained.

Kopane said: “The verdict has upheld the law in the face of the arrogance of the municipal manager who has a track record of undermining the rule of law to frustrate this government in Metsimaholo.

“The Metsimaholo people deserve the DA difference, through our brand of good governance, and this government in Metsimaholo will continue to deliver to all people.”

Allegations of betrayal comes in the wake of opposition parties intensifying the plot to govern the municipality.

It is currently governed by the coalition, led by the DA (12 seats), EFF (8 seats), Metsimaholo Community Association (2 seats) and the FF+ (one seat).

  • The coalition ousted the ANC after the 2016 local government election. This is the second court victory for the DA within seven months.

In July 2016, the DA had a favourable ruling by the Bloemfontein High Court in a matter against the embattled Masilonyana Local Municipality.

The court ruled against the municipality’s bid to prevent the DA from supplying water to desperate residents in Brandfort.

The municipality’s mayor, Stephen Kolane, had further accused the DA of using the municipality’s water crisis to campaign for the 2016 local government election by supplying water to residents, allegedly in branded water tankers.

Luyanda Nyangiwe, the attorney that represented the Masilonyana Municipality, argued that the water the DA had provided to vulnerable groups, including children, could possibly have been contaminated.

He further stressed that the water needed to have been tested to ensure it was safe for use. Nyangiwe argued that the DA had contravened the Water Service Act.

Nick Ferreira, attorney that represented the DA, pointed out that since 2015, the municipality had always been aware that the DA had provided water to residents and that the ANC-led muni­cipality had not objected to this, until a few days before the election.

He said it was pure speculation by the municipality that there had been anything wrong with the water supplied to residents, adding that the water was from boreholes and there was no risk.

Judge Fouché Jordaan, who presided over the matter, dismissed the application with costs after hearing arguments by the attorneys.

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