The DA is opposing the illegitimate election of a “new” mayor to Gamagara Municipality in Kathu yesterday and has written to the MEC of COGHSTA, as well as the acting Municipal Manager and the “former” Mayor of Gamagara Municipality to object to the flawed processes that were followed.

DA councillors were yesterday notified that a Special Council Meeting, previously convened for 3pm, was cancelled. The meeting was then suspiciously reconvened and councillors were alerted by the Mayor’s Office that the meeting would in fact proceed at 5pm.

This directly violates council regulations that clearly state that no Special Council Meeting may be convened unless councillors are given at least 48 hours notice prior to the date and the time of such a meeting. In other words, a new meeting should have been scheduled but this was not done.

At the meeting, Edwin Hantiese was then elected as Mayor, replacing Dineo Moyo, who was then shifted to fill the position of Speaker, which previously did not exist in Gamagara Municipality.

The election of a new Mayor in this way is unlawful.

According to the Municipal Structures Act, a new mayor cannot simply be elected before:

• the old Mayor has resigned
• there has been a successful Motion of No Confidence in the Mayor,
• or the Mayor ceases to be a member of a Council.

Neither of these three scenarios occurred.

Instead, the ANC simply used deceitful tactics to prevent opposition councillors from attending the meeting. They then used the unopposed platform to their advantage to push their own party agenda by reshuffling the positions of the Mayor and the Speaker.

The DA will not tolerate a situation whereby rules and regulations are blatantly ignored by the ANC for party political purposes.

The DA will fight for yesterday’s Special Council Meeting to be declared null and void and we refuse to acknowledge Edwin Hantiese as the new mayor.

People cannot simply be placed into political leadership positions on a whim. Legal processes must be adhered to at all times and the DA will do everything in our power to rectify this matter.