Opposition parties walked out of the Rustenburg city council meeting on Tuesday after the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) objected to Rustenburg acting municipal manager Victor Makona presiding over the election of the speaker.
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The EFF claimed the meeting was not properly constituted. They said Makona’s contract with the municipality expired on September 30.
“Now that your contract expired, you are sitting there illegally, you are presiding over this meeting illegally,” said Abinaar Matlhoko, before leading the EFF out of the meeting.
Matlhoko said the EFF also did not accept former speaker Sheila Mabale-Huma’s resignation letter, as it was not directed to council, adding it was unlawful for her to stand for re-election.
Mabale-Huma resigned last week following a court action launched by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that sought to set aside her election on August 19.
The DA argued that her election was irregular because the presiding officer Seth Ramagaga called for a rerun after there was a tie following the tallying of the votes during the election of the speaker.
They said Ramagaga was supposed to have adjourned the meeting for seven days instead of calling for a rerun.
The application was expected to be heard in the North West High Court in Mahikeng on Thursday.
As EFF councillors stormed out of the council meeting on Tuesday, they were seen pulling down curtains, claiming people in the public gallery were disturbing them.
“They are disturbing us, we are not safe here,” a group of EFF councillors were heard saying.
Municipal officers then opened the curtains, with Makona responding to the EFF that the public were invited to the meeting and had a right to view council business.
After the EFF walked out, the DA requested a five minute caucus. When the party’s councillors returned, they, too, staged a walkout. The Freedom Front Plus followed suit, and the United Democratic Movement also left without stating whether or not they were boycotting the meeting.
The Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) did not attend the meeting.
In the absence of the opposition, the ANC, Botho Community Movement and Independent African Congress re-elected Mabale-Huma unopposed as the speaker of council.
In her speech Mabale-Huma said the problems of the people of Rustenburg could only be solved by the people of Rustenburg.
She called on all parties to work together as a team as they prepared for the challenges ahead.
– African News Agency (ANA)