Political parties are pointing fingers at the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for yet another postponement of the council sitting of the Ditsobotla Local Municipality in Lichtenburg, North West.
Following the recent by-elections, new councillors were to be sworn in, as well as a mayor and speaker.
The EFF, on the other hand, claims that they only raised a few administrative concerns.
VIDEO | Parliamentary oversight visit to Ditsobotla Local Municipality
Because of poor service delivery, the council of Ditsobotla Local Municipality was disbanded and a by-election was called. Now a new council needs to be sworn in and leadership elected. However, this process has not been without complications.
Yet another special council sitting had to be postponed. Local Government spokesperson Dineo Thapelo explains, “The special and inaugural council meeting of Ditsobotla could not continue further yesterday due to continuous disruptions and it had to be postponed to the 2nd of January 2023.”
The EFF is not satisfied with the proceedings. EFF’s Provincial Chairperson Shakes Botswe says, “… inside the council sitting, as EFF we raised issues there. Also, the issue of the administrator, the contract of the administrator ended on the 16th of December and it was not extended. The second issue is why EFF councillors, not only EFF councillors but why councillors were not invited? We saw the invitation on WhatsApp group.”
The Democratic Alliance says these are only excuses to justify the disruption of the meeting as all EFF councillors were present and if they were true servants of the people they would have allowed the meeting to conclude.
Others believe the Department of Local Government is to blame.
Save Ditsobotla Movement’s representative, Letlamoreng Mosiane says, “It was not properly convened by saying that we did not get proper notices by the council. We were referred to another venue at the last minute. we were not informed properly, we heard on the streets that the venue has been changed.”
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the North West, which attended the meeting to assist with the election of the municipal leaders says such a situation has not been encountered in many years.
“This is a very unique case, most probably in the history of the elections in the North West province. This has never happened – definitely not in the past fifteen years. So, we will play by the ear. We will see what the department says or whether or not they will go to court,” says IEC Provincial Electoral Officer, Dr Tumelontle Thiba.
The disruption of the council sitting is not a surprise to some. Political analyst Andre Duvenhage says, “I am not surprised by the postponement. It’s not a lot left of that municipality in terms of structure it needs to be reconstituted in a new way and I don’t think it is a question of logistics alone. It’s a question of timing. Why the council did not take place so I think we will see that in the new year, the restart of Ditsobotla taking it forward from a very low point and hopefully they will get it right this time.”
Duvenhage adds that there are three days in January left to convene a sitting, and should they fail to meet the deadline, they will be forced to approach the courts for an extension, failing which another by-election will have to be held.
VIDEO | The Ditsobotla Local Municipality in the North West held two parallel council sittings in June