Bredell’s abject failure is reported
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 23 November 2013. 07h15. So disquieting is the threat that Oudtshoorn may possibly be governed by councillors not in good standing, that a high-power delegation representing the municipality met with national minister of cooperative government and traditional affairs Lechesa Tsenoli, his legal counsel and DG in Pretoria Wednesday last.
The meeting was followed up with a letter from the municipality’s lawyer, Hardy Mills.
A report also reached Tsenoli earlier this week:
Service delivery in the Greater Oudtshoorn remains sustainably robust.
The Speaker is investigating 13 of the 25 councillors.
Illegal actions by DA and aligned councillors, so judged by the Western Cape High Court, continues to impede government.
Legal action by the DA, and the Western Cape minister of local government, and vexatious individuals arrogating to serve the interests of ratepayers and residents, are being zealously managed.
Oudtshoorn is a vigorous municipality performing above expectation under conditions of bitter political assault.
Service delivery in the Greater Oudtshoorn remains sustainably robust.
• Streets, in disrepair due to the budgetary problems (supra), supplier constraints, and uncommon inclement weather conditions, are being repaired;
• Streets are being cleaned of weed and undergrowth;
• Housing programs are continuing, with a large current informal housing area, resulting also from farm evictions, reconstructed with due care and diligent caution for residents whose conditions are being improved dramatically;
• Four MIG Projects totalling R14,228,243 are in progress and expected to be completed on schedule.
That Oudtshoorn’s administration and service delivery remains not only intact but considerably exemplary speaks clamantly to the ability, and the sticktoitiveness, and the commitment of the Executive Mayor, his Mayco, and the Municipal Manager, and his administration.
Oudtshoorn remains under political siege by individuals and parties driven by an insatiable hunger for power.
That democracy in its most robust manifestation is nurtured and sustained in Oudtshoorn, given the continuous attacks against the city walls, speaks volumes for the maturity of the local ANC coalition government.
This report is presented in chronological format, rather than descriptions by events, and must therefore be read in totality without headings indicating specific relevant matters tessellated in time.
Western Cape minister of local government Anton Bredell (Bredell) actively promoted an initial attempt to overthrow the Oudtshoorn ANC Coalition Government, and continues to abet, if not drive the ongoing conspiracy to install a DA government in Oudtshoorn in the face of rank criminality in the DA Caucus.
In the days leading to an impugned meeting illegally convened, by order of His Lordship André le Grange on September 10, by the DA Caucus and five apostate ANC Councillors (together “the 17”) on May 31, Bredell solicited the opinion and advice of legal counsel to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille (Zille), Koos Celliers, in a failed attempt to overthrow the Oudtshoorn ANC Coalition Government.
Bredell’s conjuration was highly probably in service of an underhanded machination by DA Western Cape deputy leader and DA head of government matters Theuns Botha, who, in concert with specific Oudtshoorn DA Caucus members planned the May 31 coup for some time before its failed execution.
In notes procured from the personal notebook of Caucus Chairperson Vernatt van der Westhuizen, the buying off of the five ANC Councillors who abandoned the Coalition government on May 31, was carefully planned with the full knowledge and participation of Botha.
The 11 DA Councillors and the Cope Councillor, and the remnant of the original 17 brigand members, refused, as early as June 1, to abandon their illegal misadventure and forced the Speaker, John Stoffels (Stoffels), to approach the High Court at great and unnecessary expense in a legitimate effort to remedy the false position caused by this outrageous action.
Counsel for the 12 failed to file answering affidavits until 19 June 2013, and only after the Court set the Speaker’s application down for 13 August 2013.
In the meantime the municipality, officials, councillors and in particular the Speaker were subjected a horde of frivolous and vexatious litigation, meticulously intended to disrupt the municipality, unnerve the individuals concerned, and most importantly to derail the High Court application.
On June 18 a functionary of Cogta summoned all Oudtshoorn Councillors to Cape Town the following day for a meeting which included also the then national minister of Cogta Richard Baloyi, “to decide Oudtshoorn’s future”, also in the light of the looming July 1 deadline for the approval of the 2013/14 Budget (Budget), given the political standoff in a Council reduced to 20 out of 25 seats.
Only the ANC Alliance Councillors heeded the summons; the DA Caucus being excused by Bredell personally.
On June 24 Oudtshoorn Executive Mayor Gordon April (April) confirmed in writing Bredell’s ruling of June 19 to postpone the approval of the Budget until a date to have been determined after the August 7 by-elections.
In what adumbrates the novel good cop bad cop scenario, Bredell’s colleague, Western Cape minister of finance Alan Winde, also on June 24, insisted the Budget be approved on or before June 28.
The next day April referred Winde to the confirmatory letter of June 24.
Winde responded on June 26 with a threat of intervention ito s139 of The Constitution if April failed to have the Budget approved by June 28.
On June 27 attorney for April, Hardy Mills (Mills), reported Winde to Zille for conduct believed “to be unethical, unconstitutional, and in clear violation of the Western Cape Provincial constitution as well as the law of the Republic of South Africa, more predominantly the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 (the MFMA)”.
On 28 June Bredell wrote April “clarifying” his statements of June 19 and referring April to “relevant provisions in the MFMA”.
Several subsequent correspondence between Mills and Bredell, in whose office Zille temporarily vested the duties and responsibilities of Winde at the time, resulted in a new Budget approval deadline of September 30.
On September 25 Bredell summarily and unexpectedly extended the deadline to November 29.
The entire budgetary kerfuffle has been described by the Specialist Consultant to the Acting CFO, Roland Butler, in an attached affidavit, as an orchestration to frustrate the orderly functioning of Council and its Administration with the probable intend of forcing the collapse of the incumbent government in service of a DA controlled government lying in ambush.
On August 28 His Lordship Owen Rogers issued an Order by agreement that a council meeting be held on September 4, to consider motions of no confidence in the Speaker, the Executive Mayor, and the Executive Deputy Mayor, after the Oudtshoorn Speaker, Alderman John Stoffels, refused the DA’s demand, on August 13, for a council meeting ito s29 of the relevant act, as Rule 30(2)(b) of the Oudtshoorn Council’s Rules of Order states, inter alia, that no discussion shall be permitted on any matter in respect of which a decision by a judicial or quasi-judicial body or a commission of enquiry is pending.
On September 3 the Speaker took ill and was rushed to hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack. The September 4 council meeting was thus cancelled.
On September 10 Le Grange J (supra) ruled the May 31 impugned meeting illegal and voided all subsequent decisions by the illegitimate soi disant “Council” arrogated by the DA / Cope Coalition, and awarded costs against the DA, and the DA and Cope Councillors.
On the same day Bredell vested himself with the machinery of state and filed a Notice of Application for Variation in terms of Rule 42(1)(b) that a Special Council Meeting be scheduled for September 16, eventually for September 20 by agreement between the parties, to consider Motions of No Confidence (Motions) in the Speaker, the Mayor, and the Deputy Mayor, after a similar meeting ordered by Rogers J for September 4 refused to consider the Motions as the Speaker ruled the motions sub judice and not fit for consideration by the Oudtshoorn Rules of Order.
On September 13 His Lordship Robert Henney varied the Rogers Order and ruled a meeting be held on September 20 to consider the motions of no confidence.
On September 12 Celliers and an Oudtshoorn DA Caucus member, Chris MacPherson, met at the instigation of the Oudtshoorn Chamber of Commerce, with representatives of the chamber; the local Agri; and the local Tourism to hear why the DA, having apparently secured a majority in coalition with Cope on August 7, were not able to give effect to this alleged majority and take over the Oudtshoorn Council.
Celliers is alleged to have informed the meeting, having failed to secure confidentiality of the utterance by the meeting, that civil protest, including marches on the municipality, would assist in securing DA control of the Council.
At the Special Council Meeting of September 20, the Speaker did, in fact, attempt to table the Motions, but was thwarted by the DA abandoning the meeting, ostensibly in protest of a council resolution (by 12 votes to nil) revoking the voting rights of Nel and Van Wyk (infra – the Le Grange judgment) in anticipation of a determination by the minister to remove the councillors.
On October 1 Bredell launched an urgent application “to continue” the Special Council Meeting of September 20, abandoned by his Oudtshoorn DA Caucus.
Judgment in this latest matter was delivered on November 12.
His Lordship Ashton Schippers found that neither the minister, nor speaker Stoffels, were “substantially successful” as regards the case.
Yet it must be stressed that the minister brought the application and that the application was dismissed on the grounds that the minister lacked locus standi.
Schippers also found that the meeting of September 20, when the DA walked out in protest of the suspension of the voting rights of their councillors Pierre Nel and Ben van Wyk – by council resolution! – was the culmination of a chain of events started by the DA’s illegal actions on May 31.
The WCHC, His lordship Le Grange prevailing, ruled the May 31 DA coup, and all subsequent decisions by the rogue councillors, illegal and awarded cost against the DA councillors de bonis propriis.
On June 25 the DA councillors, in concert with their Cope alliance partner, entered into an impugned Deed of Settlement of the Pierre Nel v Oudtshoorn Municipality matter, dumping the legal expense of this matter, ruled in favour of the municipality by the WCHC (twice) and the Supreme Court of Appeal, in the lap of Oudtshoorn’s ratepayers and relieving Nel of the cost in his personal capacity.
The basis of this fraudulent settlement was, apparently, a specious resolution, marked even as “Resolution 24/6/13” voted by the DA councillors arrogating to represent a majority of councillors, yet acting in discordance of council’s Rules of Order and relevant local government legislation.
Speaker Stoffels investigated this apparent fraud, and especially the roles of DA councillors Pierre Nel and Ben van Wyk, in detail and reported his finding and recommendation to council on September 20, having granted Nel, being a party to the settlement; and Van Wyk, acting at the time on what he subsequently claimed to have been a contrived conviction imparted by counsellors that he was, in fact, the functioning mayor of Oudtshoorn, ample time to respond to the allegations against them, without reply.
Stoffels recommended that Nel and Van Wyk be suspended and that the gravity of their offence justified the revocation of their voting rights until the Western Cape minister of local government (the minister) ruled on the recommendation. Council voted this recommendation a resolution by 12 votes to nil.
Schippers J found that “the Speaker’s pursuit of the investigation of the deed of settlement cannot be faulted…”
In the harsh light of reason it is difficult not to question the DA’s relentless biased social media and expensive legal attempts to berate the Speaker the faithful execution of his duty by law to ensure that councillors comply with the Code of Conduct regulating their doingses.
One wonders whether the Speaker would have met with similar opprobrium had he acted against councillors suspected of a similar outrage, but with political affiliation in opposition to the DA.
One wonders whether the Speaker would have been so hampered in his duties if such justifiable action did not influence council’s balance of power.
Would the DA, in all reasonableness, have opposed disciplinary management in pursuit of clean government if the expected unfortunate outcome did not threaten its political majority?
Does power at all cost rank superior to clean governance and honest representation of people at the third tier of government?
The ANC says no and acts accordingly; the DA claims no and acts discordantly.
The gravity of the offense – attempted fraud on the very people claimed to be represented by the perpetrators – is so severe that no further participation in council by the perpetrators can reasonably be contemplated.
The prima facie evidence against the suspected perpetrators backs their disqualification as empowered councillors able to act in support of service delivery to a community divided and harmed by the very offense of the very people trusted with delivery.
The Speaker is generally pleased that Schippers J found that the council meeting of September 20 complied with the order of Court made by Henney J on September 13 and that the Western Cape minister of local government Anton Bredell had no locus standi in bringing this application in the first place.
The Speaker is also pleased that the judgement is marked “Reportable” which means that it will be recorded in the South African Law Reports as it contributes to the development of South African law and will serve as authority in all future relevant matters.
The Speaker is currently studying the judgment with his legal team to decide whether to accept the outcome in its entirety, or to appeal it in part or in its entirety.
At present the Oudtshoorn government and administration is threatened by actions which may (high probability) stem from the dangerous and irresponsible utterances of Celliers on September 12 (supra).
Samwu has marched on the municipality belligerently demanding the removal of the ANC appointed Municipal Manager and has threatened, in writing, that Oudtshoorn may meet its “Marikana” at Samwu’s hand.
The DA caucus is boycotting all committee meetings and at least one of the DA Alliance councillors had already missed three committee meetings in sequence even before the current political and administrative deviltry commenced.
The Speaker is investigating 13 councillors for serious breached of the Code of Conduct, ranging from fraud and uttering to corruption to breaches of the MFMA to absences without leave.
Yet service delivery remains sustainably robust (supra)…
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