By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – The Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) internal bickering has prompted seven of its members to boycott last week Thursday’s much-anticipated Maluti-a-Phofung council sitting.
EFF-MAP councillors and party members were seen picketing outside Phuthaditjhaba multipurpose hall, the venue where the council was debating motions of no-confidence against council Speaker, Paratlane Motloung, Executive Mayor Gilbert Mokotso, Chief Whip, Moeketsi Lebesa.
There were robust and lengthy debates and disagreements among council members, forcing Council Speaker, Paratlane Motloung to adjourned the sitting.
EFF leader, Chikota Mkhwanazi has since confirmed reports that the reason behind his party members boycotting the council was as a result of his party’s internal politics.
“We have political dynamics within our party which led to some of us not taking part in today’s sitting. The directive from the national and provincial offices was that councillors should attend the council sitting. Yet some of our members went against that directive,” said Mkhwanazi, adding disciplinary measures could be taken against those who defied the directive.
ANC leader in council Mandlenkosi Dlamini, meanwhile, has accused Motloung of being biased and argued that the sitting was not properly convened even though the motions were sponsored by AULA.
“The Speaker is taking sides. Instead of being the speaker of the council he clearly resorted to favouritism. He’s running the council processes unfairly; he’s not even affording us a fair chance to add to the debates.”
He said they might consider lodging a formal complaint or seeking mediation from the courts of law.
On the other hand, Motloung responded to the accusations by explained to the councillors that they had a right to lodge a complaint against his conduct.
“We were supposed to debate one item on the agenda, which is motions of no-confidence. We’ve already started the process. We could not proceed to the next motion because the member who sponsored the motions refused to use my mic to continue debating his motions. We are not surprised with the flurry of motions against our administration because there’s an agenda that is being pushed by other opposition parties,” said Motloung.
Meanwhile, AULA-Cllr Lebohang Rapuleng, who tabled the motions against the MAP-Troika, was not willing to proceed with the motions of no-confidence against the Executive Mayor, and the Speaker. This after he received zero votes while 31 members voted against the motion to remove Cllr Moeketsi Lebesa from his position as Chief Whip.
He said: “Our council no longer has a democracy because there’s an element of dictatorship by the speaker,” claimed Rapuleng.
However, Lebesa trolled the members of the opposition, suggesting they lack understanding of how municipal council systems work. He dismissed the motions as frivolous.
“We should organise a workshop for all the councillors regarding how the council standing rules and orders work. Clearly, they don’t understand them. They can’t even differentiate a point of order, hence they accuse the Speaker of being biased,” said Lebesa.
He said the pandemonium that transpired during the council sitting was caused by the low turnout of ANC councilors and the R2billion which is set to be allocated the municipality by minister of Water and Sanitation department.