THE Democratic Alliance (DA) has threatened to interdict Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane if he does not declare as null and void municipal ward committees allegedly established without following proper procedures.
DA MPL Dacre Haddon this week alleged that ward committees in Eastern Cape municipalities such as Inxuba Yethemba, Emalahleni, Ikhwezi, Lukhanji and Inkwanca were established with these municipalities flouting section 73 (3) of the Municipal Structures Act.
The act states a metro or a local council must adopt rules regulating the election of members of ward committees, taking into account the need for diversity, and that there must be guidelines for members leaving office, and for the frequency of meetings. However, according to Haddon, some municipalities in the province have simply gone ahead and elected members to these structures without officially formulating or following the necessary rules.
Haddon said in some instances, residents received inadequate notice in order for them to be able to participate in or stand for elections.
He said in the Ikhwezi local municipality in Jansenville, “some 60% of the community organisations”, including those for the aged and residents’ associations, were not given adequate notice to nominate representatives and thus were excluded from the process.
Municipal speaker Sizwe Mgwevu denied certain stakeholders were sidelined. “For us, this process went smoothly and without any major hiccups. All stakeholders were invited and involved in the process.”
In Inxuba Yethemba local munic Ward 5 in Cradock, Haddon alleges that late nominations were accepted from the floor at a certain meeting, despite the expired deadline date for written nominations.
Council speaker Sibongile Masawe said the council had to accept nominations from the floor after candidates’ forms went missing.
“Those people did meet the July 8 deadline, but their nomination forms could not be located, so after an agreement with all the stakeholders, we allowed them to submit their applications during a meeting we had on August 1,” Masawe said.
Haddon claims in Inkwanca local municipality, which incorporates Molteno and Stormberg, notice to convene ward committee elections was given on the same day the elections were to take place.
“At that meeting, the mayor allegedly merely accepted the first five names proposed without allowing a due public election process.”
However, Inkwanca mayor Mthandazo Qamngwana, who also acts as council speaker, denies locals were not adequately informed of the process.
“We informed the people well in advance but no one came to my office to collect nomination forms,” he said, adding that, “due to the vastness of our area, we decided to nominate from the floor five people from each area [Molteno and Stormberg], who were later voted into the committee.
Haddon further claimed elections in Emalahleni, Senqu, Lukhanji and other municipalities also went ahead “without due legislated process taking place”. However, the Dispatch could not solicit comment from their representatives by the time of going to print.
Qoboshiyane said he was “startled by the increasing propensity of the DA to ring false alarm bells when it is not congruent to do so”, however he confirmed there were areas where things did not go as planned.
Qoboshiyane said in Emalahleni municipality, flouting of procedure was noted in Wards 4, 6, and 14 and thus “elections were declared null and void”, while in Lukhanji, “the municipality keeps on changing dates for elections”. He said there were other municipalities that had also declared their elections null and void. — firstname.lastname@example.org