Tshwane speaker challenges suspension

The Tshwane Metro city council
The Tshwane Metro city council
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe has accused Gauteng cooperative governance MEC Lebogang Maile of misapplying the law when he suspended her and former speaker of council in Johannesburg Vasco da Gama.

This comes after Maile on Thursday announced the suspension of Mathebe for allegedly attempting to keep herself in power by stopping planned motions of no confidence in her leadership.

Da Gama's suspension was for requesting a legal opinion on what constituted a majority vote for a new mayor in Johannesburg.

In court papers filed on an urgent basis in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Mathebe, in a founding affidavit, stated that the law that Maile relied on to suspend her and Da Gama did not allow the MEC to act without council's request.

"The MEC's decisions were purportedly taken in terms of item 14 (6) of the Code of Counduct for Councillors (schedule 1 to the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act of 32 of 2000).... however item 14 (6) does not entitle the MEC to mero motu (of his own accord) investigate or sanction councillors," argued Mathebe.

Maile suspended Mathebe for six months without pay while Da Gama was slapped with a three-month suspension, also without a salary.

"The MEC may only exercise these powers in response to a request from a municipal council.

"Neither the Tshwane City Council nor the Johannesburg City Council requested the MEC to take action under items 14(4) or 14(6) of the Code of Conduct," Mathebe argued in the affidavit.

Mathebe argued that Maile's actions were unlawful and should be set aside on the principle of legality.

The two metros failed to produce a majority winner following the 2016 local government elections, and they were government by coalition governments led by the DA.

The DA has since lost power to the ANC in the country's economic hub, Johannesburg, following the resignation of former mayor Herman Mashaba.

Maile said he was yet to decide on his next move.

"Our legal counsel is currently studying the DA papers and we will make a determination on what route to take," Maile said yesterday.

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