Hearings set for EFF conscience voters in Mogale
The EFF councillors in Mogale City voted with the ANC despite a direct order not to attend the council meeting
The EFF councillors who voted in support of an ANC budget in Mogale City face disciplinary hearings this week.
It is understood that disciplinary hearings are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the EFF’s headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Six of the party’s nine councillors are due to appear at the hearings, after which the harshest sanction for the charges could be expulsion.
The EFF councillors in Mogale City voted to pass the budget and the integrated development plan on Tuesday last week even though they were given a direct order not to attend the council meeting. The party wanted the council to be put under administration so that new elections could be called in the dysfunctional municipality.
The councillors claimed they had voted according to their conscience, with Smanga Mkhumbeni of the EFF saying that the group could not reject a budget that was seen as benefiting the people.
The EFF councillors’ decision to vote with the ANC came as a shock in the municipality where a DA-EFF coalition lost power after the DA mayor was voted out in a motion of no confidence conducted by secret ballot.
Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga said parties would increasingly find it difficult to discipline their councillors and regional leaders, as these representatives were directly elected by residents and held accountable by the people.
What happened in Mogale City was a sign that parties were going to become more decentralised over time "whether they like it or not". Mathekga said this could inadvertently lead to the democratisation of political parties, as local leaders have to yield to what is happening locally.
He said the national structures of political parties should prepare themselves to lose control over local structures.
The councillors are charged with bringing the EFF into disrepute; breaching the EFF’s constitution, policies and principles; defining themselves outside of the organisational structures and discipline; failure or refusal to carry out officially mandated duties; and undermining and disobeying decisions of higher structures and officials.
EFF leader Julius Malema said at a media briefing last week that the councillors were instructed not to attend the meeting and had defied the party by attending. Moreover, they had also voted for the ANC budget, thus placing money back into the hands of the ANC.
What the councillors had done was like ANC councillors voting against the party line and with their conscience. The councillors would be dealt with in a decisive way. "What those comrades did there was unacceptable," he said.
EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi declined to comment on Monday on the party’s disciplinary hearings.