GEORGE NEWS - A mammoth task, real challenges and an uphill journey. Deputy Mayor Charlotte Clarke chose these words to describe the road ahead for George Municipality during her address to Council last Thursday after Mayor Melvin Naik was suspended by the DA.
As acting mayor, Clarke had the daunting task to address the George Council the very next day.
Although Naik still holds the office of mayor, he was on annual leave last week and Clarke had to face the music. With Municipal Manager Trevor Botha on sick leave, Director of Corporate Services Siphiwe James acted as municipal manager. Both Botha and Naik returned to office on Monday.
"Given the fact that we appear to be in turmoil, we need to refrain from becoming emotional and concentrate on the task at hand," said Clarke in her speech to Council.
She reminded councillors that they have a responsibility to their communities first, and that the municipality needs to focus on service delivery and put personal politics aside. She mentioned the constant pressure of the influx of people migrating to the Garden Route, putting pressure on the economy and resources.
The opposition had a field day, criticising her for skimming on the surface of all the troubles. It was unbearably hot in Council due to a faulty air conditioning system, and the heated emotions just added to the oppressive atmosphere. ANC Chief Whip Nomawethu Jantjies caused a commotion when she asked the Speaker if Naik had been arrested. PBI's Virgill Gericke said the DA is still in denial and asked them to take responsibility ''for this mess''. He urged the DA to apologise to the city and be more transparent about the situation that is unfolding.
Icosa's Wilbur Harris said the municipality is supposed to service more than 200 000 people and that they have failed the working class with poor service delivery. "Fire your whole cabinet, Mr Bredell,'' he said.
Good party's Mercia Draghoender said it is indeed an uphill battle, and referred to the state of Maraiskamp. She said Clarke was not saying enough. ''We are waiting for the motion, we are waiting to hear if he (Naik) is in jail. We are waiting for the case number.''
Adv Gert van Niekerk of the FF Plus empathised with Clarke and the circumstances in which she had to deliver her speech. He said it's a pity there is such a bad vibe between the councillors and that there isn't a neighbourhood in George that hasn't been affected negatively. He said the lack of communication regarding services and feedback on questions from the public is shocking.
The ruling party had the final reply in council, with DA Chief Whip Marlene Barnardt who said the DA takes the issue of corruption very seriously. The ANC and other opposition parties had a good laugh at this. Barnardt said the DA is here for the city of George and that they are aware of the problems in service delivery, which is getting attention.
Read previous articles:
- George council meeting in full swing
- DA suspends George mayor
- 'Prepare for a bombshell'
- DA caucus votes Naik must go
- DA accused of selective action after gunning for Mayor
- 'Dirty' money in war on waste
- DA lays criminal charges against Mayor, senior officials
- DA wants to suspend mayor following damning report
- Municipal investigations: Game of thrones
- MEC and MM lock horns
- Minister responds to statement by Municipal Manager
- Municipal Manager responds to investigation report
- Mayor welcomes investigation, Municipal Manager questions motives
- Bredell orders investigation into George Municipality
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