MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Lebogang Maile, has made an about-turn on his suspension of Democratic Alliance (DA) councilors.
Maile announced last week that he has suspended City of Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe and former City of Johannesburg speaker Vasco Da Gama with immediate effect.
He suspended Mathebe for six months and Da Gama for three months, both without pay.
Maile’s spokesperson, Castro Ngobese, said the MEC changed his mind after receiving legal advice.
"In light of the advice received, Maile has taken a decision to rescind the suspension of the two councillors with immediate effect. Such a decision has been formally communicated to councillors Da Gama, Mathebe and their lawyers," Ngobese said.
Maile had earlier said he suspended Da Gama after he allegedly failed to respond to a letter regarding his decision to suspend the special council meeting to elect a new mayor on 27 October.
Mathebe was suspended after she refused to calls by the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to change the order in which motions would be heard at a council meeting, or to recuse herself, which ultimately led to the collapse of council as the two parties staged a walkout.
The MEC is expected to explain his about-turn in a press briefing on Tuesday.
But, the DA does not care about that explanation and still promises to take Maile head-on.
“No doubt, his lawyers advised him that he would lose the legal case initiated by the DA. He would be exposed as having abused his powers and as being a constitutional delinquent.
“But it is not enough that the DA and its Councillors Mathebe and da Gama have been vindicated. Maile must face consequences. In this regard, Councillors Mathebe and da Gama are seeking legal advice to pursue Maile for impugning their integrity,” said DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, Mike Moriarty.
Moreover, the DA will be tabling a Motion in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature calling upon Premier David Makhura to remove Maile as MEC.