DA floundering in Bitou – but the vocab!
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 29 June 2014. 20h30. When the DA schemed to take over control of the Oudtshoorn council on May 31 last year – an effort that failed spectacularly – they called it “strategy”.
Now that the ANC is moving in to take control of Bitou – by clearly announcing its intention 7 days before the council meeting, and specifically not approaching the confrontation in the under-handed way the DA used in Oudtshoorn, the DA calls the effort a “coup d’état”!
This Friday last Mayor Memory Booysen of Bitou had the municipal building locked down. DAmockratic, that.
Today, after yesterday’s Cope CPC meeting, CPC-Secretary W.C. (sic) Mjonondwana Xolela copied Booysen on a formal letter to Cope Deputy Mayor, Adam van Rijner: “Upon intense deliberations we came to an unanimous agreement to terminate your membership of COPE with immediate effect.”
This decision was to prevent Van Rijner holding “the council into ransom”. Ye gods…
Acting for the DA Bitou Speaker, attorney Lizelle Baronique Harker, wrote attorney Hardy Mills, ostensibly acting for the Bitou ANC councillors:
We take note of the concession made in your email that the notice of 26 June 2014 to our client for a meeting to be held on 27 June 2013, was defective and nothing more needs to be said on that score.
As far as the notice of 20 June 2014 is concerned, the Municipal Manager has received conflicting instructions from individuals and structures claiming to represent COPE regarding the status of Mr Adam Van Rhyner within that Party. This matter is currently being investigated by the Municipal Manager. Our client has briefed counsel in Cape Town to obtain legal advice regarding what her approach should be to the notice. In the meantime, it will assist her if you could provide her with proof of some kind that the notice was delivered to the municipal manager, as required by section 33(2) of the Rules of Order Regulating the Conduct of the Meetings of Council of the Municipality of Bitou.
Finally, our client is deeply concerned about what appears to be a threat in the last paragraph of your letter to resort to self-help by conducting a meeting without our client’s consent and in her absence. We fail to understand the relevance of section 13(4) of the Rules of Order. Counsel has considered this section and advised our client that it is irrelevant in the circumstances of the present matter where the question is whether the notice to the Speaker on behalf of your clients and Mr Van Rhyner, is proper. On the facts currently at our client’s disposal, the request does not meet the requirements of the law.
Our client surmises that your clients and Mr Van Rhyner will not bother too much about the legality of their notice and will proceed to hold a meeting on 1 July 2014, with or without the Speaker and other members of Council. At such a meeting, they will then purport to pass motions of no confidence in our client and the Executive Mayor and replace them with their own representatives, which will be followed by an attempt to physically, and, if necessary, violently, remove our client and the Executive Mayor from their offices. Thereafter, our client fears, an attempt will be made to get access to municipal coffers in order to fund litigation to defend what will, in effect, be a coup d’etat at local government level.
In the circumstances, we are instructed to request your clients’ undertaking, by no later than 10h00, tomorrow, 30 June 2014, that they will not proceed to hold a meeting on 1 July 2014. If no such undertaking is received, our client may have no alternative but to launch urgent High Court proceedings aimed at interdicting and preventing your client from executing the coup d’etat.
Please confirm whether you have authority to accept service on behalf of your client and/or Mr Van Rhyner and whether we may send you the papers at this email address as well as acknowledge receipt of this letter.
Tuesday should be an interesting day. I shall report developments as they unfold.
Coup d’état. Nee kyk, nou’t ek als gehoor!