Membership of the Oudtshoorn Council of 10 DA councillors and the Cope councillor terminated!
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 21 February 2014. 15h40. The speaker of the Greater Oudtshoorn Council today published the report of the disciplinary committee appointed by Council on February 6 to investigate allegations that certain councillors failed to attend three consecutive Council Meetings in breach of Item 3 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors, Schedule 1 to the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, Act 32 of 2000, as amended.
The speaker issued this statement minutes ago:
The committee elected by council to investigate allegations that certain DA and Cope councillors absented themselves from three consecutive council meetings has made a finding that these councillors have indeed absented themselves from three consecutive council meetings, being the council meetings of 31 January, 4 February and 6 February 2014.
Item 4(2) of the Code of Conduct as contained in Schedule 1 to the Municipal Systems Act states that a councillor who absents himself or herself from three consecutive council meetings which that councilor is required to attend must be removed from office as a councillor. (My underlining).
Similarly, Rule 11(5) of the Council’s Rules of Order states that a member who is absent from three consecutive meetings which he or she is required to attend in terms of section 9, must be removed. (My underlining).
Consequently, since the committee found that the following councillors have absented themselves from three consecutive council meetings, they have been informed today that they are removed from office as councilors with immediate effect, by operation of law:
1. Cllr Vernatt van der Westhuizen;
2. Cllr Dianne de Jager;
3. Cllr Ewa Fortuin;
4. Cllr Danie Fourie;
5. Cllr Julia Le Roux;
6. Cllr Pierre Nel;
7. Cllr Christiaan Mac Pherson;
8. Cllr Felicity Magxaka;
9. Cllr John Maxim;
10. Cllr Raymond Wildschut;
11. Cllr Ben van Wyk.
The acting municipal manager has declared 11 vacancies and has informed the IEC accordingly.
Original papers were today filed with the IEC in Cape Town. Copies have been submitted to the national IEC office.
The Western Cape minister of local government; and counsel for the councillors were also informed.
The speaker also informed his counterpart at the Eden District Council that Wessie van der Westhuizen and John Maxim are no longer members of the Oudtshoorn Council and therefore can no longer represent Oudtshoorn as delegated members of the Eden Council.
This means that Eden is currently without an incumbent mayor and will have to elect someone to that office at its next meeting.
A Pretoria based legal expert told O!O that the councillors had been “removed by due operation of law resulting from an objectively ascertainable fact and not as a consequence of an administrative act”.
The fact that the councillors were absent from three consecutive council meetings automatically terminated their membership of the council.
Informing the councillors of their termination, the acting municipal manager wrote:
In view of the finding of the disciplinary committee that you failed to attend three consecutive Council Meetings, the peremptory wording of Item 4(2) determines that you must be removed from office as a Councillor. The removal from office is a direct consequence subsequent to the finding that you failed to attend three consecutive Council Meetings and neither the disciplinary committee, the Council, nor the MEC has any power or authority to impose any sanction.
You are therefore herewith advised that, following the finding of the disciplinary committee, that you absented yourself from three consecutive Council Meetings, that by due operation of law following the provisions of Item 4(2) of Schedule 1, the Code of Conduct for Councillors, your membership of this Council has terminated ex lege.
Both your political party, as well as the IEC will be advised of the termination of your membership of this Council and the vacancy that has now occurred.
You are instructed to return any Council property that may be in your possession by not later than close of business on Monday, 24 February 2014 to my office.
So, there you are. Monday’s council meeting – a s29 meeting called by 13 councillors of whom 11 are no longer councillors – will be an interesting one…
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