Clear my name or I’ll take you to court - Katlego Mathebe’s warning to Lebogang Maile

28 January 2020 - 10:52
By Kgothatso Madisa
Lebogang Maile.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi Lebogang Maile.

A DA top wig in Tshwane has issued Gauteng local government MEC Lebogang Maile with an ultimatum: clear my name or I’ll take you to court. Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe said she was not satisfied with the cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC’s decision to rescind her suspension as a councillor because Maile had also “rubbished” her name.

Maile made an embarrassing climb down yesterday when he announced the reversal of his decision to suspend Mathebe and former Johannesburg speaker and DA member Vasco da Gama. The MEC declined to give reasons for the about-turn but suggested in a statement that he had done so after getting legal advise.

The DA has always maintained that Maile’s move was illegal and that he was overstepping his authority. In a short statement yesterday, Maile, through his spokesperson Castro Ngobese, said: “In light of the advice received, MEC Maile has taken a decision to rescind the suspension of the two councillors with immediate effect. Such a decision has been formally communicated to Cllrs Da Gama, Mathebe and their lawyers”.

But Mathebe is not satisfied and has threatened legal action if Maile does not clear her and Da Gama’s names. “He also rubbished our names and he has a responsibility to clear our names as well. Just only rescinding the suspensions is not enough,” Mathebe said. “As councillors, we have a responsibility to act in a manner that demonstrates integrity and he said we lack integrity. That’s a very serious indictment. So he must clear our names.”

In announcing his decision to suspend the pair last week, Maile said the pair had contravened the Code of Conduct by councillors, saying that Mathebe had attempted to keep herself in power by stopping planned motions of no confidence in her and embattled Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa. He said Da Gama was a “constitutional delinquent” for attempting to halt a vote for a new mayor of Johannesburg by requesting a legal opinion on what constituted a majority vote. “We will pursue civil case if he does not clear our name, that I can tell you. Because we are people of integrity. We are expected by the Code of Conduct for councillors to act in a manner that [shows] integrity and if he rubbished our names the way he has and he’s not going to clean it up, we will have to take him to court,” a stern Mathebe said.

The DA’s Gauteng provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty said the party would be calling for Maile’s removal. “Moreover, the DA will be tabling a motion in the Gauteng provincial legislature calling upon premier David Makhura to remove Maile as MEC. Maile is a serial abuser of power who lacks even a basic understanding of his role in overseeing local government,” he said.

Maile said he would today reveal his reasons for rescinding the councillors’ suspensions.