The Democratic Alliance (DA) mayor of the Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality, Ewald Loock, and the party's chief whip in the council, Ricardo Smith, escaped motions of no confidence in them after a council meeting the African National Congress (ANC) called to table the motions collapsed on Wednesday.
Councillors from the DA, Freedom Front Plus and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) walked out of the meeting before the matter could even be debated.
The walkout happened after the DA complained to council speaker Cheslin Felix, from the Compatriots of South Africa (CSA), about a lack of arrangements for the virtual participation of DA councillor, Danie Bezuidenhout.
Bezuidenhout recently underwent an operation and is at home.
The CSA and ANC are in a coalition. The Dr Beyers Naudé municipality in the Karoo is a hung council, with the DA occupying 10 seats. The Freedom Front Plus and EFF have one each. The ANC has 11 seats and the CSA has one.
DA caucus chief whip Eldrige Ruiters said, "The speaker's failure [to arrange virtual participation] was nothing more than a ploy by the ANC-CSA coalition to manufacture a majority in council in order to remove Mayor Loock and Councillor Smith."
Ruiters said the council was able to host virtual meetings throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and that this arrangement remains in place.
"There was no reason to not accommodate Councillor Bezuidenhout on a virtual platform as part of the meeting," Ruiters added.
He said Loock and Smith will remain in their positions and will continue to work to bring accountability, transparency and improved service delivery to the people in the municipality.
Ruiters added that residents deserve to have all of their representatives present when important matters impacting the future of the municipality are debated.
Leaders of the ANC-CSA coalition, promised to respond to News24's questions at a later stage.
The ANC's Sarah Baartman regional secretary, Johannes Hobbs, told News24 he would respond when he is done facilitating registration for Sarah Baartman region delegates who are attending the ANC's elective conference in East London on Saturday. His comment will be added once received.
The municipality's seat is in Graaff-Reinet- the fourth oldest town in the country.
The municipality is the largest of seven local municipalities under the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.
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