PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS – The Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association is knocking on the door of Western Cape MEC for local government Anton Bredell in an attempt to resolve the “deadlock” in the Bitou Municipality.
Association chair Peter Gaylard said they believe the Bitou Council has collapsed and councillors can no longer “sort out the question of majority rule” among themselves.
He said that it appears as though the DA will not act, while the ANC acts unlawfully. “Someone must stop the people who have hijacked the council and restore good governance,” he said.
The beleaguered municipality has been labouring under prolonged political drama for months. It entailed the ousting of Mayor Peter Lobese and a series of attempts to elect another mayor, interspersed with court cases and appeals between the DA /AUF coalition and the ANC, with council not being able to convene a quorate council meeting since 1 July.
Gaylard said they have decided to write to Bredell, urging him to invoke his statutory investigative powers to make a limited intervention, make recommendations on how the “deadlock” should be resolved, and recommend actions to reverse the “illegal decisions” that had been taken since April.
“This cannot wait until the elections; even if the elections are held in October, a potential change in council will not reverse the past unlawful decisions,” he said.
“The councillors in the majority decline to exercise the powers they lawfully enjoy and the minority act on the assumption that the powers are lawfully theirs. In consequence, decisions are being taken that are invalid, unconstitutional and unsustainable in law. The concern this situation engenders, unsurprising in itself, can only be compounded by the fact that the decisions include, so we understand, staff appointments that are both outside the official organogram and actuated by vote-getting, nepotism and patronage.”
In the letter Gaylard invited Bredell to intervene to resolve “the crisis” by appointing an investigator to determine the proper locus of power in council, identify the wrongful and unlawful conduct of councillors and officials and make recommendations on how the matter could be rectified.
“Placing the municipality under administration may prove to be the only solution, but until the investigation has been conducted, concluding as much would be premature.”
Bredell’s office was yet to comment by the time of going to print.
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