Cash-strapped council to pay speaker’s private fees

Gavel in front of judge
Gavel in front of judge

A cash-strapped Limpopo municipality has undertaken to pay for the legal costs of its speaker in a civil case where he is accused of assaulting a community member.

The Elias Motsoaledi local municipality in Sekhukhune resolved to pay for the legal costs of its speaker David Tladi who is being sued for R200000 after he allegedly assaulted Frank Makua during a meeting in 2016.

Makua said he sustained injuries on his neck from the assault, and said he had to be operated on.

“Last week I sent him a letter demanding that he should pay me. The speaker and his people came into our area for election of ward committee members and this was a community meeting.

“When Tladi , Daniel Senyane and Klass Maredi were trying to politicise the meeting, I stood up to express my dissenting view regarding the direction the meeting was taking. He then told me to shut up and assaulted me with fists,” Makua said.

In a special council meeting on Wednesday the ANC councillors used their majority to pass a council resolution to pay for Tladi ’s legal costs.

Simon Makua, the spokesperson of the Marble Hall-based municipality, said a special council request for council to assist the speaker and two ward committee members with legal costs was made.

“The council resolved to approve the appointment of legal representatives for the speaker of council and the two ward committee members and that costs of the litigation to be covered by the municipality until finalisation,” he said.

Bolsheviks Party of South Africa councillor Fanie Mogotji who was in the meeting, said the legal costs could add up to R1m which may or may even not include the damages award.

“This is irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure being incurred whereas the funds could have been applied for service delivery or infrastructure development,” he said.

DA councillor Norman Mathebe said it was ridiculous that the council offered legal assistance to a person who broke the law.

“The speaker is supposed to be a custodian of council’s decorum but this one gets rewarded for assaulting ordinary people. He has bridged the municipal code of conduct and he was supposed to be suspended,” he said.

Mathebe said service delivery has declined since the municipality lost R20m investment with VBS Mutual Bank.

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