The council sitting of Govan Mbeki Municipality on Thursday, 27 February, did not go smoothly. It was marred by several points of order and explanations that were tedious and repetitive.
Several issues bothered the opposition parties and these points were raised, much to the dismay of, especially, the Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC). These MMCs saw it fit to misunderstand, misinterpret or just be unagreeable with any opposition suggestion.
The MMCs took every opportunity to try and explain their failure to the rest of the council. At one stage the tensions were extremely high within the ANC ranks with some telling others to stop talking.
The meeting had bouts of heckling, disrupting procedures by all parties alike. The Acting Speaker Cllr Gwiji struggled to maintain order throughout the council meeting that lasted 5 and a half hours.
Several burning issues were raised and discussed.
One of the first disruptions came when the Democratic Alliance questioned the Mayor and her team’s ability to conduct their duties. This stemmed from a question by DA Cllr van Rooyen that started in June 2017. A resolution was tabled to the council in 2017 stating that funds were made available to upgrade the Stegmann Theatre. The amount in question is R3 000 000.
Van Rooyen wrote a question to the Mayor a year later asking about the funds (2018). During the last council meeting the question was raised again and the Speaker of Council, Cllr Zuma, instructed the Mayoral Committee to deal with the letter.
There was still no response from the Mayor nor from the Municipal Manager.
MMC Cllr Dan Nhlapo saw it fit to defend the Mayoral Committee and their lack of providing answers. “We have a lot of work and this question must follow processes,” said Nhlapo. This resulted in the opposition demanding action. No question should be left unanswered for nearly three years. MMC Cllr Makhaye also joined Nhlapo in defending the late response. This while he had the answers ready in front of him. He went on to accuse the opposition parties of saying that the money was in his pocket. The opposition parties took him to task. The DA especially said that the protesting is a bit too much quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much”. The DA cautioned Makhaye regarding his hefty protests explaining that protesting too much would lead to one question: why he is protesting so much?
The DA and the EFF demanded to know where the R3 000 000 was spent and why it was not spent on the theatre.
Makhaye kept by his response to say that GMM did not receive it.
Funds are made available from time to time by the National Treasury to help with capital projects and upgrades. If it is not used it is lost and taken away. Next year’s funding would then be less.