’Rogue’ councillors face two-year sanction, says Dlamini Zuma
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Cape Town - As aspirant councillors look to secure a seat in the upcoming elections, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has issued a warning to those who turn “rogue” when they are elected.
Dlamini Zuma warned that councillors who violated the code of conduct faced being removed from office for two years.
She said this in response to written questions from Freedom Front Plus MP Michal Groenewald, who asked about the steps Dlamini Zuma’s department had taken to address the negative impact of widespread political infighting at local government level, on service delivery to local communities.
In her response, the minister said political and administrative levels in municipalities should work together to improve on service delivery.
“Instability at any of the levels has a negative impact on the ability of the municipality to perform its functions. All councillors are obliged to abide by the councillor code of conduct,” she said.
The minister said the code required councillors to always act in the best interest of the municipality, and not to encourage or participate in any conduct which would cause maladministration in the council.
When the code was breached, she said, the recourse lay with the municipal council and the provincial member of the executive council (MEC) for local government.
The municipal council may investigate and make a finding on any alleged breach of a provision of the code.
It may reprimand or issue a warning to a councillors found on the wrong side of the law or reprimand or refer them to the MEC for local government for a suspension, fine or even removal from office.
The MEC may also institute an investigation and make a recommendation on whether the councillor should be suspended or removed from office.
“In terms of the amendments to the Municipal Structures Act, an MEC for local government will be able to remove a councillor from office for a breach of the Code and that councillor will not be eligible to become a councillor for a period of two years,” Dlamini Zuma said.
She also said political infighting required all politicians and the intervention of their parties to resolve contentious issues.
"All political office bearers have the responsibility to ensure communities are served effectively, efficiently, and respectfully," Dlamini Zuma added.