Situation still smoky

The battle continues between the residents of the Sol Plaatje Municipality and the ANC in the Francis Baard District, following the voting out of Mayor Mangaliso Matika on Wednesday (25/07).

Matika retaliated after being ousted through a vote of no confidence at a special council meeting which saw the coalition of at least 34 DA and ANC councillors, out of the total of 64, voting him out in his absence.

This was reportedly a similar strategy as the one used to oust Speaker Elisabeth Johnson.

ANC councillor Pule Thabane was instated as acting mayor.

Matika made his refusal to vacate office public, citing that he is a victim of an illegal and bogus council meeting that was aimed to remove him.

Just like Matika, who is the ANC chairperson in the Francis Baard District, the 33 branches in his support label the move as a political plot by factions aimed at weakening the party.

The councillors are accused of selling their electoral power to the highest bidder, being the opposition.

The ANC in the Francis Baard District also vowed to defend the mayor, citing that he is wrongfully judged.

The MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Bentley Vass, announced the implementation of a Section 106 intervention.

A task team is to investigate the recent developments in the municipality, such as the procedures followed on supply chain processes, the appointment of service providers and Section 32 of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

This drove the community back to the streets, declaring complete shutdowns where roads were blockaded and schools closed while police could just monitor the situation closely.

An urgent interdict was therefore filed at the Northern Cape High Court by the DA – a move supported by the community – for Matika to be removed by the sheriff if he refuses to vacate the office and hand over power to Thabane.

They also wanted to protect and support the ANC councillors who supported the DA at the council meeting.

On Tuesday (31/07) the situation was tense in Galeshewe as several community members attended the court proceedings while roads were barricaded until Matika was removed.

School attendance was still halted as parents were urged by the Northern Cape Department of Education to exercise caution in their decision to send their children to school.

Taxis were warned against operating as usual, and motorists were cautioned to drive at own risk in fear of being pelted with stones.

By the time of going to print on Tuesday midday, the proceedings at court had not started.

Meanwhile, the municipality was sealed off with barbed wire for the past week already.

A special council meeting that was announced for today (01/08) at the Sol Plaatje Municipality, has apparently being postponed indefinitely.