South Africa 5.9.2018 04:59 pm

ANC accused of ‘playing for time’ in Kimberley to punish its dissidents

Kimberley Mayor Mangaliso Matika. Picture: Kimberley municipality.

Kimberley Mayor Mangaliso Matika. Picture: Kimberley municipality.

Eleven councillors voted against mayor Matika in July, and the DA suspects the delay in receiving his resignation may be about settling scores.

The DA says despite the resignation of Sol Plaatje Mayor Mangaliso Matika on Monday night, his failure to submit a written resignation letter means that he continues to govern the business of the municipality “from the grave”.

DA Northern Cape leader Andrew Louw said: “Matika’s casual attitude is completely dismissive of the people of Kimberley, who are desperate for a fresh start, for service delivery and decisive action regarding electricity tariffs.”

Subsequent to this, the municipality has received the resignation of the speaker, which Louw alleged was only creating a sense of even greater chaos.

Louw said the formal resignation of the speaker of Sol Plaatje, Ben Springbok, arrived at the municipality before Matika’s, who had already announced his resignation on Monday night.

“Also strange is that Springbok today scheduled a Special Council meeting on 26 September 2018, before he even submitted his resignation. According to information, the agenda will just deal with the shortfall caused by the electricity tariff fee of R260.”

He alleged that the ANC could be “playing for time in order to resolve the disciplinary hearings against the ANC 11, who infamously voted against Matika”.

“In the meantime, the absence of the speaker, in addition to the absence of a mayor, will only serve to exacerbate the state of limbo that the municipality finds itself in. Kimberley can ill afford this.

“The DA will submit a motion, supported by the majority of councillors, to request for an urgent council meeting whereby the acting municipal manager can preside over council to elect a new speaker; Matika’s resignation can be fast-tracked; and the financial crisis being experienced by Sol Plaatje can be deliberated, so that the community can finally be informed of how budgetary shortfalls will affect them.

Earlier, Louw had said that, “Council meetings are clouded in an air of uncertainty, decisions are being put on ice and, in effect, Sol Plaatje is in limbo. This is very worrying given the utterly filthy state that Kimberley finds itself in.”

On Monday, the DA had welcomed Matika’s resignation as mayor as a victory for the people of Kimberley.

The DA said for the municipality to bounce back “budgets must be efficiently spent, services must resume, maintenance and upgrades must go ahead, and development must proceed according to the Infrastructure Development Plan (IDP)”.

The DA called on the ANC to urgently resolve Matika’s resignation, saying failure to do this would lead the municipality “back on the path to destruction”.

Louw continued: “Much hard work is needed to make up for the years of service delivery failure under Matika’s leadership. The ANC’s nonchalant way of handling Matika’s resignation, however, shows just how little they really care for the people of Kimberley.

“Only change under a DA government will ensure that the business of Kimberley, and not the business of the ANC, is prioritised.”

Kimberley residents had given the provincial ANC an ultimatum to recall Matika, one the party’s Collen Maine had seemingly resisted.

The DA had called on Matika to vacate his position, accusing the former mayor of mismanaging municipal funds, manipulating municipal business in favour of his friends, and abusing resources to sustain a luxury lifestyle.

The opposition in North West said Matika’s departure would nip the power of his crooked cronies in the bud, including that of municipal manager Ruth Sebolecwe.

The party further committed to continue to probe Matika’s alleged scandals, including the purchase of his luxury BMW and his municipal-funded accommodation, with luxury furnishings, as well as his hand in the alleged awarding of certain tenders and kickbacks.

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