More drama in Ditsobotla with motion of no confidence tabled against newly elected Speaker

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Ditsobotla Local Municipality in Lichtenburg, North West. Photo: Lucky Nxumalo
Ditsobotla Local Municipality in Lichtenburg, North West. Photo: Lucky Nxumalo

The deep-set political crisis in Ditsobotla Local Municipality in North West is getting uglier after a motion of no confidence was tabled against the newly elected Speaker, Fikile Jakeni.

Despite the motion not being discussed, several councillors have accused Jakeni of contravening the rules of the council, which were adopted on Monday.

Councillor Benny Mosiane of the Save Ditsobotla Movement accused Jakeni, of the ANC, of failing to follow the adopted agenda of the day when he included the secondment of the acting municipal manager (MM) from the department of cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs (Coghsta).

He also accused Jakeni of colluding with the MEC for Coghsta, Nono Maloyi, in the appointment of the acting MM without the item being discussed by the council.

Mosiane said in his motion of no confidence letter:

By conniving with the MEC, the Speaker violated the standing rules and orders read together with section 37(f) of the structures as he failed to run the council in accordance with the rules. Simply put, the Speaker broke his oath of office merely hours after being elected.

This was after Jakeni had read a letter of secondment to the appointment of the acting MM without the matter being on the agenda.

Jakeni’s action also forced the newly elected mayor, Elizabeth Lethoko, to resign in protest of the appointment of the acting MM, which was tabled after the council had concluded all items that were on the agenda for the day. 

Lethoko resigned a few hours after she was elected to the position on Tuesday.

But on Thursday, Lethoko tried to make a U-turn on her resignation, despite the support of her party, the Patriotic Alliance (PA), when she resigned.

PA leader Gayton Mckenzie said they agreed with Lethoko because their coalition partners, the ANC did not discuss the issue of appointing the municipal manager with them before tabling the issue. 

READ: 'Dissolution of Ditsobotla municipality a punitive action to fight ANC factionalism'

But just when the council was about to start with the business of the day and discuss Lethoko’s resignation, Mosiane tabled a motion of no confidence in the Speaker, arguing that he had violated the rules which were adopted in the first council sitting.

“The nature of the item itself warrants that the executive committee could have reported to the council for discussion. By doing so, he contravened the separations of powers between legislative issues and executive issues,” argued Mosiane in his motion of no confidence.

The motion was supported by Lindiwe Bontes from the EFF.

Mosiane also accused Jakeni of allowing the item of the acting MM to be tabled without having been discussed by the executive council first on January 9.

In his letter seen by City Press, Mosiane argued that the council Speaker contravened the council's standing orders and rules as the matter was not on the agenda.

Such the sneaking in and reading of such a letter was in contravention of the standing rules and order.

“The MEC is in contravention of section 54A of the system act read together with the section 26 and 27 regulation of the same act, which clearly stipulates that the municipal council is vested with powers to appoint an MM or acting MM, request secondment from Coghsta or staff from another municipality,” read the letter.

Mosiane said the North West High Court concurred with the legislation and guided the municipalities and the MEC on how sections 26 and 27 of the system should operate.

“A municipality may request secondment, not the other way round,” added Mosiane.

While the matter regarding the Speaker became a hot topic, political parties were divided on the withdrawal of the mayor's resignation. 

READ: Parly recommends dissolution of 'corrupt' Ditsobotla municipality

Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) rejected the resignation and withdrawal of Lethoko.

Thapelo Mokgale of F4SD said the PA insinuated that there was corruption in the attempted appointment of the acting MM.

“But now, we wonder what has enticed them to attempt to withdraw the resignation,” he said.

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