I've not retracted my decision to suspend Mathebe and Da Gama, says Lebogang Maile
Gauteng cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile says he has not retracted his decision to suspend DA councillors in Tshwane and Johannesburg but has given the leadership of these cities the responsibilities to deal with the two.
On Thursday last week, Maile suspended Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe and former Johannesburg speaker Vasco da Gama, accusing them of putting their personal interests over those of the residents. But on Monday, after receiving legal advice, Maile rescinded his decision and his actions attracted all forms of criticism on how he handled the instabilities in the capital and the country’s economic hub. Speaking to journalists in Sandton on Tuesday, Maile said his department did not take the decision to suspend Da Gama and Mathebe.
“The merit and correctness of our decisions remains, as our actions have been consistent with the Constitution and pertinent municipal legislation…There is no charges that have been dropped. Even after consulting with senior counsel, we maintain that the conduct of the two councillors constituted gross abuse of office, dereliction of legislative duties and caused harm to residents of both cities,” Maile said. “We did not jump the gun, [we] acted according to the law as we understood it,” Maile said.
He added that investigations into the conduct of Mathebe and Da Gama would now be dealt with by the Tshwane and Johannesburg councils. Mathebe frustrated efforts of the ANC and the EFF to remove the DA from power in Tshwane. She rejected an item on the agenda brought by opposition for council to have a motion of no confidence against her. On the other hand, Da Gama delayed ANC efforts to remove DA leadership in Johannesburg.
The DA has always maintained that Maile’s move on Mathebe and Da Gama was illegal and that he was overstepping his authority. Mathebe told Sowetan on Monday that she was not satisfied by Maile’s decision to rescind the suspension and threatened to take legal action if he does not clear her and Da Gama’s names.
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