DA TO TAKE WARD ROW FURTHER: THE HERALD

THE DA is threatening to approach the public protector and national parliament after its motion to nullify ward committee elections across the province was outvoted by the ANC during a sitting at the Bhisho legislature on Tuesday.

The ANC voted against the motion even though Transport MEC Tandiswa Marawu, speaking on behalf of Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, admitted the department had received reports about flawed elections in at least four municipalities.

The DA’S Dacre Haddon, who tabled the motion, said: “The ANC members were obstructive in not accepting the motion because they knew they had been caught out and done little to rectify irregular ward elections. By not supporting the motion the ANC has publicly confirmed its acceptance of illegal and flawed ward committee election processes.

“In view of the seriousness of this matter, we will be consulting with DA party structures to ensure it is dealt with at the level of parliament and the public protector.”

But the ANC’S Michael Peter said the DA was only “crying crocodile tears” for having lost the June election.

“The DA is contesting space it lost [during elections]. You cannot lose elections in June and a few months later expect to win [ward committee elections].”

This was despite Marawu earlier admitting there were disputes in four wards at King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality (Mthatha); three wards in Nkonkobe Municipality (Fort Beaufort); two in Maletswai (Aliwal North) and one ward in Tsolwana Local Municipality (Tarkastad).

Marawu said the municipalities’ responsibility was to investigate the disputes and take decisions to ensure proper compliance with the law.

“We are interacting with mayors and speakers of the four municipalities where there are still unresolved disputes. Where we find evidence of an election process having [been] breached or having been contrary to the dictates of the law, we will nullify the election of ward committees and start the process afresh.”

Induction of these respective municipal ward committees has also been delayed.

“It was categorically stated ward committees with disputes should not be inducted and allowed to commence with their duties until all disputes have been resolved,” Marawu said.

“We must also put it on record that no stipend will be paid to ward committee members whose elections still have disputes or queries.

“Opposition parties must refrain from making challenges that crop out of the election of ward committees a political football. They must mature to a point where they play a positive role towards assisting these municipalities to ensure proper elections of these committees,” Marawu said.