Please find a soundbite by Cllr Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku, DA Jhb Caucus Leader, here
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Johannesburg takes note of the letters of demand the City Manager, Floyd Brink, and MMC Of Group Corporate and Shared Services, Cllr Loyiso Masuku has served upon the party, and councillors.
This comes in response to a news article, and subsequent press statement issued by councillors with regards to the R2.6 million spending spree both Masuku and Brink went on, using Loco allowance funds, for an end of year function.
It is our duty as councillors to provide oversight over the Executive and it is in the public interest that residents know what happens to public money within the City of Johannesburg.
It is therefore clear that this is nothing more than a cheap intimidation tactic to silence councillors. We are, however, not that easily silenced, nor will we ever be.
The constitution bestows privileges and immunities to members of municipal council as noted in the Rule 148 of the standing rules and orders of Council, to protect against exactly these types of tactics. If councillors are in the wrong, or acting in an unethical manner, they should be referred to the Section 79 Committee on Ethics.
Furthermore, it is important to note that in terms of the Municipal Structures Act, only the Speaker has the power to refer councillors to Section 79 Committee on Ethics for investigation. Which is the appropriate way for these matters to be handled. According to law, neither the City Manager, nor the powers of the Group Forensics and Investigation Services he usurped earlier this year, can.
This is a blatant abuse of power and residents’ money to intimidate councillors into silence. We will ensure that it is impossible to avoid the obviously necessary scrutiny they are fighting against. This point has been laboured, and debated, but the truth of the matter is, these inefficiencies and irregularities, is exactly why we called for the Dissolution of Council.
This is why we:
- Wrote to the Minister of Finance and National Treasury, to investigate the irregular expenditure as it pertains to the proposed year end function
- Submitted a PAIA application to get to the bottom of the above-mentioned irregular expenditure
- Will write to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) today, to ensure that Brink and his cronies in the executive are held to account for their intimidation tactics
Let me make this as clear as possible, the DA will not be silenced or intimidated by the ANC/EFF/PA Doomsday Coalition. Especially as it pertains to our constitutional mandate to provide executive oversight.