DA Proposes Urgent Motion Against Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro has taken a bold step by tabling a motion of exigency against the Executive Mayor, Gary van Niekerk. This significant move is aimed at having his Executive Delegated powers removed and is set to be debated in a Special Council Meeting at the Feather Market Hall in Gqeberha today.
Allegations of Breach of Conduct
The DA alleges that Mayor van Niekerk has breached the code of conduct of councillors and the Municipal Finance Management Act by irregularly appointing a service provider. In response to these allegations, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has even gone a step further by laying criminal charges against van Niekerk regarding this matter.
The core issue revolves around the irregular appointment of a service provider, which has raised concerns about the transparency and legality of the Mayor’s actions.
Questioning Delegated Powers
One of the key elements of the motion is the demand to strip Mayor van Niekerk of his broad-ranging Executive Delegated powers, which currently allow him to move money around to the value of R15 million. The DA argues that given his alleged interference in administration and supply chain processes, coupled with incurring significant debt, it is not in the council’s best interest for him to retain such authority.
Nelson Mandela Bay DA Caucus Leader, Retief Odendaal, emphasizes, “You cannot allow a person that interfered in the administration, interfered in the supply chain processes, and incurred half a million in debt to have broad-ranging delegated powers, which include being able to move money around to the value of R15 million. So, we are going to try and get the delegated authority away from him, as we believe it is in the interest of the council.”
The Future of City Manager Noxolo Qwazi
Another pressing matter on the agenda of the Special Council Meeting is the future of City Manager Noxolo Qwazi. She is currently facing charges of fraud and corruption related to a toilet tender worth more than R24 million, awarded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Qwazi is presently on trial in the Gqeberha Specialised Commercial Court.
The National Treasury has also weighed in on the matter by writing to the council, demanding that Nqwazi must face disciplinary action as a condition for the release of grant funding to the Metro. This has added another layer of urgency to the situation.
Support for Suspension
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a coalition partner in the government, has expressed its support for the motion to suspend City Manager Noxolo Nqwazi pending the outcome of her case. EFF Regional Chairperson, Khanya Ngqisha, states, “We are happy that finally our coalition partners have agreed to what the EFF has said all along. So, this is what we have decided, and this council meeting has been called to deal with that. We are also happy the Minister of Finance took a similar stance to what we have been saying all along. It took that letter by the minister to awaken the other political parties to show how serious this matter is.”
With this support from a coalition partner and the backing of the Minister of Finance, the motion to suspend City Manager Noxolo Nqwazi gains significant momentum.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Council is currently grappling with a host of pressing issues that have led to the proposal of an urgent motion against Executive Mayor Gary van Niekerk. The allegations of breaching the code of conduct, irregular appointments, and questions surrounding delegated powers have cast a shadow over his leadership.
Simultaneously, the fate of City Manager Noxolo Qwazi, facing serious charges of fraud and corruption, hangs in the balance. The National Treasury’s demand for disciplinary action adds a layer of complexity to the situation.
As the Special Council Meeting unfolds, the decisions made will have far-reaching implications for the governance and future of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.