ANC asks court to force Tshwane council to convene disciplinary hearing against speaker

announced he had written to the chief whip of Tshwane, directing him to conduct an investigation into Mathebe’s conduct.

READ | ANC heads to court to challenge Tshwane speaker ruling

This was after Maile backtracked on his decision to suspend the speaker, on legal advice, following a legal challenge by the DA.

Maile maintained he had done nothing wrong in suspending Mathebe for six months without pay, adding he still believed she had breached the councillor’s code of conduct.

In court papers, seen by News24, the ANC noted Maile’s decision to rescind the suspension, saying he had further directed the council to start disciplinary proceedings against her. Maile’s directive was sent to the chief whip in the council, Christo van den Heever.

Court intervention needed

According to Tshwane ANC chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa, the chief whip responded to the MEC, indicating he was advised that Maile had no legal authority to instruct anyone in the City of Tshwane to institute any action against Mathebe.

“He [Van den Heever] indicated he was further advised that if the council convenes a meeting in compliance with the MEC’s letter, it will be acting subject to unlawful dictation by the MEC,” Maepa said.

He added the ANC intended on tabling a motion in the next council meeting for the discussions of the directive given by the MEC and anticipated both Mathebe and Van den Heever would flout the rules and orders to dodge this motion.

Maepa said both the speaker and chief whip had flouted the council processes before.

MEC directive not guided by law

Last week, Mathebe dismissed Maile’s directive, arguing the MEC had acted in a manner that was not guided by any of the applicable legal prescripts.

Mathebe said the directive flouted the rules and orders that governed council business. She added the chief whip had no authority to act on Maile’s directive and the MEC could only intervene once the council had failed to conduct an investigation.

This is not the first time Mathebe has dismissed the MEC’s actions.

When she was suspended, she argued Maile’s decision was irrational and unlawful.

READ MORE | Maile’s actions ‘not guided by legal prescripts’, says City of Tshwane speaker

In court papers, she also contended politics had played a role in the suspension as Maile was not only the Cogta MEC, but also an ANC member.

“It seems clear the MEC has used his disciplinary powers to suspend me from council, not on the basis of a lawful finding that I have breached the code, but to ensure my removal from [the] council [which is an outcome that the ANC in council has been trying to achieve since December 2019, and which it has been unable to achieve by lawful means],” Mathebe said.

“I am advised and submit the MEC’s purported use of his disciplinary powers for the purpose of removing a political foe from the position of speaker in a municipal council constitutes a grave breach of the separation of powers and cannot be countenanced by this court.”

Acting speaker debacle

The ANC in Tshwane has also asked the court to order the council to debate a resolution adopted in 2017 that saw DA councillor Zweli Khumalo appointed as acting speaker.

Khumalo was appointed if the sitting speaker is unavailable or unable to fulfil his or her duties.

This court actions follows a council sitting on January 30 when the ANC submitted a request to rescind the resolution.

Mathebe denied the request, citing the Municipal Systems Act, which speaks to the delegation in the council.

However, the ANC argued the speaker’s interpretation of the act was incorrect and according to Tshwane’s rules and orders it could submit a request to rescind a resolution during a council meeting.

The council meeting eventually collapsed after the ANC and EFF staged a walkout.

The ANC has asked the court to order the council to debate the resolution in the adjourned ordinary sitting and special council meeting to be held as soon as possible or within seven days from January 30.

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