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DA in Limpopo in panic mode after move to oust it from political power

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DA in Limpopo in panic mode after move to oust it from political power

20th November 2018

By: News24Wire

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo is in panic mode after a move to oust it from political power at the Modimolle-Mookgophong Municipality through two separate motions of no confidence filed by the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

This was worsened by the resolution of the provincial executive to invoke Section 139(1) (c) which deals with the dissolution of the municipal council and the appointment of an administrator until a new council is elected, if exceptional circumstances warrant such a step.

The ANC and EFF are to use their combined numbers in the council to oust the DA, which gained power through a coalition with the EFF and Freedom Front after the August 2016 municipal elections.

The ANC has 12 seats, the DA holds seven, and the EFF and Freedom Front have five and two respectively.

The ANC has filed a motion against mayor Marlene van Staden. The EFF wants the whole political management team – Van Staden, speaker Dingaan Motshwene and chief whip Hercules Louw – removed.

But DA provincial leader, Jacques Smalle, told the media on Monday that the motions of no confidence were driven by sinister motives.

"These motions came at a time of the imminent release of a forensic audit investigation preliminary report which is likely to incriminate the failing ANC and EFF politicians and some municipal officials into irregularities of tenders and contracts awarded [in] the last two years," Smalle said.

"In addition to this, the municipality is in the process of awarding several tenders to the value of tens of millions of rands. The DA was reliably informed that the motions are allegedly aimed at stopping the release of the forensic investigation and to elect an ANC/EFF coalition of corruption to share in a tender scheme with an eye on raising funds for both parties' 2019 election campaigns," he said.

The municipality is currently under administration, but Smalle reiterated that the challenges were inherited from the previous ANC administration. He said the DA/EFF coalition at the Thabazimbi Municipality remain intact despite numerous efforts by the ANC to wrestle power back after it was removed from power in the 2016 municipal elections.

At a separate media briefing, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC Seaparo Sekoati announced an executive decision to invoke Section 139(c) at its special meeting in Bela-Bela.

The reasons include that the municipality remains severely cash-strapped and unable to fulfil its constitutional obligations. It's unable to pay creditors within the stipulated 30 days and credit stands at R448-million as at October this year of which R354-million is over by 20 days.

"Since the intervention, there has been notable slow progress to turn around the state of affairs at Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality. The progress is hampered by continuous disruptions," Sekoati said.

"The executive committee does not meet [as] regularly as it should due to the meetings not forming a quorum occasioned by last-minute apologies by members, while the municipality convenes more special meetings than ordinary council meetings which implies that council committees are dysfunctional," he said.

However, Smalle later told News24 that he believed the decision was politically driven.

"I think it's premature and it is clear that this is linked towards the DA. There is seven days to respond and this still has to be referred to the minister and has to be debated in council. There is still a lot of water to run."

He said the ANC and EFF motions could still be debated before a council could be dissolved.

Meanwhile, the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality which lost millions of rands invested in the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank, is technically bankrupt and has been placed under administration.

Sekoati said the risk of community unrest was mounting as service delivery projects have come to a halt and creditors were not being paid, among other problems.
 

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