We have a solid case and are not retreating - Maile wants to forge ahead against DA councillors

2020-01-28 16:05
Lebogang Maile. (Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, file)

Lebogang Maile. (Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, file) (Tebogo Letsie)

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Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile maintains that he did nothing wrong in suspending two senior DA councillors in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Maile held a media briefing on Tuesday to detail his reasons for rescinding his decision to suspend former speaker of Johannesburg Vasco da Gama and Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe.

READ | Gauteng Cogta MEC Maile rescinds decision to suspend two DA councillors

Da Gama was suspended for three months with no pay last week for breaching the code of conduct for councillors, while Mathebe was suspended for six months without pay.

On Monday, the MEC suddenly reversed his decision after consulting his senior legal advisers.

"All we are doing is to strengthen our case, not retreating. We have never retreated, and we will never retreat. We are forging ahead because we have a solid case. Councillors acted in a way that breached the code of conduct. Our only objective is to maintain functionality, the preservation of democracy and service delivery."

READ | Tshwane speaker on Cogta MEC's decision to suspend her - 'it was a grave breach of separation of powers'

Maile's decision to rescind the suspension came after the DA said it would go to court to seek an urgent application to challenge his decision, citing political harassment.

He said senior counsel advised that while his case was solid, he should take the matter back to council after looking at two case studies on similar matters.

Chief whips should probe councillors, make findings within seven days

Maile added that he had given a written directive to the chief whips of both Johannesburg and Tshwane to conduct an investigation into the matter against the two councillors and to come to a determination within seven days.

"We must emphasise once again as we have consistently stated that we have no interest in putting any municipality under administration or to interfere in their affairs.

"Our focus is on ensuring that service delivery to the people of Gauteng is not compromised through offering them continuous support per our peremptory section 154 responsibility."

Maile disputed claims that he abused his powers, adding that he was not embarrassed by his actions and would forge ahead.

He told journalists his reversal demonstrated an unflinching commitment to uphold the rule of law and indisputable respect for the judiciary.

"As a result we have since received correspondence from the DA's legal team alerting us that they will effectively and immediately remove the matter from the court roll."

Speaking to News24 earlier, DA Gauteng chair Mike Moriarty said the party would move for a motion of no confidence against Maile.

Moriarty added that Mathebe and Da Gama had indicated they would take Maile to court, stating that the party would support them.

The battle between Maile and the DA in the province comes as the ANC prepared for another motion of no confidence against Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and his administration.

Read more on:    da  |  lebogang maile  |  johannebsurg  |  politics
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