Democratic Alliance councillors in the Sol Plaatje Municipality have applied for an urgent interdict forcing mayor Mangaliso Matika to step down. The Northern Cape High Court will hear the case on Tuesday.
The interdict is designed to enforce a motion of no confidence that ousted mayor Matika from office last week, following weeks of violent protest in Kimberley. The motion was then declared illegitimate by the ANC-led Sol Plaatje municipality leading to a standoff.
“We appear in court tomorrow morning at [9:30am],” said Democratic Alliance provincial leader Andrew Louw to cheers from a small crowd. “They are serving the papers on all the role players — Matika is number one.”
DA chief whip at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Christopher Phiri told the local newspaper DFA that the new mayor, Pula Thabane, has not been able to assume office since he was appointed last week and that Matika was refusing to leave.
“The municipality is not a tuck shop and cannot be run by one individual,” said Phiri to theDFA newspaper.
On Friday, the manager in the Office of the Mayor, George Mosimane, said the ANC-led municipality wanted to obtain a declaratory order — to declare the council meeting invalid.
Matika, although no longer mayor of Sol Plaatje municipality, remains chair of the ANC regional executive committee.
Mayor Matika became unpopular when he hoped to introduce a R260 flat fee for “electricity availability” for all homes connected to the grid on July 1 this year, in addition to regular prepaid or monthly bills. As one protester put it: “We have to pay to be able to pay for electricity”.
The city has since been in a state of protest. Seventy-five schools were shut down on Monday as a result. Earlier this month, the Greenpoint police station was burned down, and police are now investigating an arson attack following the partial burning of a library in Galeshewe.
Protest organisers say the protest will continue until demands are met — including the removal of Mayor Matika. But ANC members who joined with the DA to oust Matika were met with a swift backlash from their party, which is threatening to institute disciplinary action against them.
“As for the ANC councillors that collaborated with the opposition‚ the ANC constitution dictates that they must summarily be suspended and subjected to a disciplinary process‚” said ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga in a statement.
“ANC councillors are cautioned against voting with the opposition. It is hypocritical of the DA to want members of the ANC to vote with them when they don’t allow their members to vote with other parties,” he said.
Sol Plaatje municipality issued a statement saying there are serious concerns for public safety and vehicles in Galeweshe: “Some vehicles have been pelted with stones and roads continue to be barricaded.”
“Police have assured that they will continue to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.”