Fruitless, wasteful expenditure involved

2015-07-09 06:00

THE code of conduct for councillors falls under the aegis of the Local Government­ Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000.

Under breaches of code a municipal council may investigate and make a finding on any alleged breach of a provision of the code; or establish a special committee of councillors to investigate and make a finding on any alleged breach of this code, and take appropriate recommendations to the full council.

If the council or a special committee finds that a councillor has breached a provision of the code the council may:

• issue a formal warning to the councillor;

• reprimand the councillor;

• request the MEC for local government in the province (Nomsa Dube-Ncube) to suspend the councillor for a period;

• fine the councillor; and

• request the MEC to remove the councillor from office.

Democratic Alliance councillor, Peter Naudé was subjected to this process on trumped up charges when crucial evidence was deliberately omitted in the framing of charges, as well as in the evidence submitted to the council committee which sat in judgment, presided over by the municipal manager who is not a councillor at all.

In her letter to the council, the MEC, after considering Naude’s appeal, absolved him completely of all guilt, and further pointed out that the municipal manager had erred in law in chairing the disciplinary hearing.

Much to embarrassment of the ANC and the municipal manager the letter from the MEC was tabled at the meeting of the Hibiscus Coast Council on 24 June as required by the Systems Act.

In a shameful display of contempt for the rule of law the council meeting was reportedly disturbed by the majority of ANC councillors who would not allow the official reply from the ANC appointed MEC exonerating Naudé of all guilt to be dealt with as scheduled on the agenda of the meeting.

They reportedly claimed that council needed to take legal advice on the matter before it reappeared on the agenda list.

I can claim no legal knowledge at all, but I do not think that you have to be a lawyer to understand the Act which states explicitly that the MEC has the absolute prerogative to set aside the finding of the special committee of councillors.

If my layman’s reading of the code of conduct is correct there might well be fruitless and wasteful expenditure involved if the council goes to law in this matter.

D. Snashall

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