Council meet turns to farce

THERE is simply no better way to describe last week’s special council meeting than a comedy of errors. It was supposed to have started at 11am but began 15 minutes late with everyone congenially greeting each other and even this reporter was bestowed with heartfelt handshakes.
The fun began when before the speaker, Magdalene Dlomo, even had a chance to open the meeting, DA councillor Dave Aldendorff jumped up and questioned why the meeting was not advertised.
Berating him for trying to disrupt the meeting before it could be opened, Dlomo went on to ask councillor Earl Hill to open the gathering with prayer.
Hardly had he uttered amen when DA councillor Nico Botha demanded to know, on a point of order and according to the Municipal Act, how the meeting could proceed without it having been advertised. Not to be outdone ANC councillor Vernon Stuurman immediately retaliated by calling for a five-minute recess so they could caucus.
The five minutes of course turned into 35 minutes. By now it was going on for noon. Eventually they emerged and without further ado the meeting commenced, or so we thought, because for the next 45 minutes there was a presentation by Altech Netstar on how much good the company could do for the municipality, should their tracking devices be installed in all the municipal vehicles.
Although it was rather entertaining with a very eloquent area manager delivering his spiel with humorous anecdotes it was to no avail as he was told to contact the municipal manager.
The question is why waste all that precious time? Fruitless!
Needless to say, while all this was happening the councillors became hungry and packets of sweets were passed around.
Then a councillor’s cellphone rang, and after a lengthy conversation, it turned out the caller wanted a word with municipal manager Sydni Fadie as well. So the phone was passed across to where he sits in a prime spot – as his position dictates – facing the chambers.
The meeting eventually got under way two hours later, only to be wrapped up within 30 minutes! It is astonishing that the actual issues and the main reason for the meeting should take but a fraction of the time spent on shenanigans.
Dlomo, while berating the DA councillors, reminded all present that they (the councillors) are: “the chosen first citizens entrusted by the people” and as such, although they do not always see eye to eye, should stop playing petty party politics and start serving the community.
As the speaker of Cacadu, Deon de Vos, was present, I do believe this was said for his benefit. I wonder what he made of our council’s jesting on the day?
– Cindy Liebenberg

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