After Kimberley mayor Mangaliso Matika refused to step down as mayor, demanding that “proper process be followed” before he leaves office, he has been ordered by the Northern Cape High Court to pack his bags – at least for now.
The ousted mayor made submissions against the outcome of last week’s no-confidence motion against him. He wanted to stay in office for at least another three weeks.
He viewed the attempts for his removal as unlawful.
He has now agreed to leave office until August 22, when there will be another hearing. The new mayor is Pula Thaba.
DA Northern Cape provincial leader Andrew Louw released a statement that said Matika’s refusal to abide by the outcome of the no-confidence motion showed he had no interest in the people.
He said after the judgment that the Northern Cape High Court had upheld the interests of the community and listened to the urgent pleas from residents that Matika should step down.
“Judge Williams today confirmed that Matika must vacate his offices as mayor, pending the finalisation of the matter on 22 August 2018.
“We are very happy that the courts have confirmed what the community has been telling Matika and his cronies in the ANC for a long time – that it is time for him to return the Audi bought with the people’s money, to bring back the keys to the mayoral office and to hand over the mayoral chain so that the process of rebuilding the municipality can begin.
“It is truly tragic that the situation has deteriorated this far and that protests in Kimberley have kept children from school, residents from receiving much-needed government services and businesses from being able to operate. Aside from the massive loss of income that businesses have suffered, the vandalism and damage to infrastructure is a blow that the city will struggle to recover from.
“Today’s judgment is a first step in the recovery process. The victory of today is the efforts of a collective of political parties within council which put the needs of the people first and adhered to their call to remove Matika. We are immensely grateful for the support we have received from councillors in different political parties, as this matter is truly about the needs of the community.
“It is also a confirmation that residents do not have to subject themselves to poor service delivery, an abuse of power by elected officials or maladministration of public funds. The efforts led by the DA and councillors in Sol Plaatje shows that change is within reach for residents with the 2019 election.”
He had earlier told the court that Matika had had “conditions” attached if he was to agree to step down, which the DA would not allow.
Matika’s refusal to leave his post caused a huge outcry from locals, who again took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction.
Community leader Tumelo Mosikare said there was a “dictator” in the city, and the businesses, people and now children were now suffering because of Matika’s refusal to vacate his position.
Mosikare said the locals intended to clear the blocked roads and ensure children returned to school the following day once Matika was gone.
“His priority is to hang on to power while the people suffer and his faction fuels the fires of discontent.”
Both ANC and DA councillors had voted to oust Matika last week following the huge call for him to step down.
The ANC members who voted to remove Matika may have fallen out of the step with their fellow party members, according to ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga, who called the no-confidence meeting against Matika “bogus”.