BITOU NEWS - The Western Cape High Court has pressed the reset button on the recent political chaos in Bitou, declaring the recent selection of a new mayor and several other council positions null and void.
The turmoil started after a unanimous vote of no confidence in former mayor Peter Lobese in April this year.
Following this move the DA, along with the AUF, last month toppled the ANC-run municipality after the majority of councillors elected DA Caucus Leader Bill Nel as mayor.
The election happened during a controversial council meeting last month, which was attended by only the DA and AUF. This however was the majority of councillors.
Other positions also changed hands during the meeting, including the replacement of Deputy Mayor Sandiso Gcabayi by Nomphumelelo Ndayi, and the replacement of Speaker Euan Wildeman by Lobese.
The Bitou council has been in a precarious position since the last local government elections which resulted in the DA obtaining six out of the 13 seats, the ANC six and the AUF one. This led to several coalitions between the AUF and the other two parties.
During the meeting Lobese sided with the DA.
The ANC, through Gcabayi, however cried foul saying the meeting that saw the latest changes take place was “illegal” and headed to court to overturn it.
Following discussions between the legal teams of both parties on 2 June, a settlement agreement was reached and the court ordered on 3 June that the controversial meeting was null and void and that a meeting for the election of a new mayor for Bitou should be scheduled for 8 June.
Pending the election Nel may not hold himself out as mayor. The same applies for Lobese as Speaker and Ndayi as Deputy Mayor.
The resolution of no confidence in Wildeman and Gcabayi should also be resubmitted.
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