Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
Home / News / South African News RSS ← Back

Email this article

separate emails by commas, maximum limit of 4 addresses

Sponsored by


Article Enquiry

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor again under fire - this time over municipality's panel of attorneys


Embed Video

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor again under fire - this time over municipality's panel of attorneys

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Gary van Niekerk
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Gary van Niekerk

17th November 2023

By: News24Wire


Font size: -+

The mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Gary van Niekerk, is in hot water for allegedly illegally interfering with administrative processes in the legal department of the municipality.

Van Niekerk came under fire in a council meeting on Thursday for prohibiting the City's legal panel from issuing legal opinions to councillors.


According to a letter written by Van Niekerk to the acting City manager, the chief operations officer, and the director of the City's legal services, he gave an instruction that no legal opinions to councillors could be issued by the legal team.

The order was issued with immediate effect.


Van Niekerk told News24 on Thursday that he issued this instruction because serious allegations were made against the attorneys currently on the City's legal panel.

He confirmed that the allegations were about the alleged illegal appointment of attorneys on this panel.

In his letter to the acting City manager, Christopher Dyani, dated 15 November 2023, Van Niekerk said he had received queries from "certain attorneys" about the appointment process of the current legal panel of attorneys.

"To ensure transparency and prevent unnecessary litigation against the municipality, I confirm that no legal briefs or instructions may be issued," Van Niekerk said in the letter.

"Any fruitless and wasteful expenditure will be reported, and the necessary legal actions taken in terms of a disciplinary action and civil action to recover such monies," the letter continued.

Van Niekerk said that, after he reported the matter, Dyani decided to withdraw the current delegation from the legal panel to appoint new attorneys.

Van Niekerk also requested a briefing on Friday with Dyani and the legal services director to discuss "outstanding matters".

According to the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) Retief Odendaal, this correspondence by Van Niekerk was unlawful because it constituted interference with the administration.

Odendaal advised all legal practitioners on the municipality's panel that it was unlawful to take any instructions directly from any politician or political appointee.

"Please do not interact directly with any Nelson Mandela Bay politician on legal matters unless specifically instructed in writing to do so by the administration," he said.

He urged the legal practitioners to report any such attempts at interference in writing to the acting City manager and the director of the legal services.

The African Christian Democratic Party's Lance Grootboom, who continuously referred to Van Niekerk as a "criminal" during the council meeting, told News24 after the meeting that any administrative matter was the mandate of the City manager.

"What Van Niekerk did was plain and simple interference. A mayor cannot interfere with administration. He can take things up with the City manager, but the City manager is the one who has the authority to give instructions in this regard," Grootboom said.

Grootboom believed this was part of Van Niekerk's alleged attempt to "capture" the City.

"He [Van Niekerk] does not have control of the legal services, now he wants to try and control them and influence the legal panel."

GOOD party's Lawrence Troon emphasised that the City manager was the head of the administration.

"If you want to buy just a pencil, you go through the City manager, so just imagine what happens when it comes to this kind of instruction. He is affecting the whole municipality with this illegal thing of his," he said.

However, Van Niekerk insisted that he did nothing illegal.

He said issuing the instruction was his mandate.

"The City manager reports to me. I give instructions to him. If he feels that my instructions are incorrect, he will say so. It is in no uncertain terms an illegal thing," Van Niekerk said.


To subscribe email or click here
To advertise email or click here

Comment Guidelines

About is a product of Creamer Media.

Other Creamer Media Products include:
Engineering News
Mining Weekly
Research Channel Africa

Read more


We offer a variety of subscriptions to our Magazine, Website, PDF Reports and our photo library.

Subscriptions are available via the Creamer Media Store.

View store


Advertising on is an effective way to build and consolidate a company's profile among clients and prospective clients. Email

View options
Free daily email newsletter Register Now