Court gives Nelson Mandela Bay council 7 days to elect a mayor

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Nelson Mandela Bay Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya.
Nelson Mandela Bay Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya.
PHOTO: Netwerk24
  • Nelson Mandela Bay has been given a second order from the country's top courts to elect a mayor.
  • The court upheld Premier Oscar Mabuyane's executive's decision to intervene in the metro.
  • The court ordered that a special meeting to elect a mayor be held within seven days. 

Clean up your act immediately, the Grahamstown High Court has directed the Nelson Mandela Bay council in upholding the Eastern Cape provincial executive's decision to intervene in the metro. 

The court ruled on Wednesday that Nelson Mandela Bay hold a special council meeting to elect a mayor within seven days. 

The ruling comes days after council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya lost a court challenge against the DA regarding the election of a mayor, with costs.

The provincial executive, led by Premier Oscar Mabuyane and the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Xolile Nqatha, had previously threatened to dissolve the metro under the provisions of section 139(1)(a) of the Constitution. 

The metro failed to act on recommendations by the National Treasury, audit firm Deloitte and Touche, as well as Nqatha, who each raised the alarm on the metro for failure to comply with the Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts. 

More than R1 billion of grant funds, meant for the municipality, are being withheld by the National Treasury due to the municipality's non-compliance with guidelines. 

News24 previously reported that R753.8 million of the money was meant to be allocated in the last quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year, while R498 million was for the first quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year. 

READ | More woes for Nelson Mandela Bay as Treasury threatens to halt funds over alleged transgressions

National Treasury is empowered by the Constitution to stop the transfer of funds to any organ of state which commits a serious or persistent breach of the measures prescribed to promote transparency, accountability and the effective financial management of the economy, debt, and the public sector.

Critical vacant positions

The municipality has also been ordered to fill critical vacant positions within 60 days and immediately develop a process plan for the recruitment of executive directors in the human settlements and cooperative services departments. 

"The municipal council, if it has not yet done so, to terminate the appointment of Mr [Mvuleni] Mapu as acting City manager and to immediately appoint a suitable person who meets the prescribed requirements to the position, to which end the municipal council can request from provincial and/or national government," the court ruled. 

Mapu was temporarily replaced by Anele Qaba after he (Mapu) was arrested on corruption charges in August. 

Mapu's appointment was heavily criticised by the National Treasury, while Nqatha said his appointment was irregular and unlawful. 

DA mayoral candidate Nqaba Bhanga said he would filing a court application to hold Mafaya in contempt of court after she indicated she would not be able to hold a special council meeting because she was sick as a result of Covid-19. 

Bhanga, however, said two options were available to Mafaya, including holding the meeting virtually or handing over the reins to the acting City manager. 

"It's a day of celebration for people of the city. We are going to make a politician learn that the law is above her," he said.

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