An internal probe has found Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Xola Sabani guilty of two counts of misconduct for the disruption of a public meeting meant to be chaired by mayor Athol Trollip in September last year.
The ANC will, however, approach Cooperative Governance MEC Fikile Xasa to appeal against the ruling.
A special committee, headed by ACDP councillor Lance Grootboom, ruled that Sabani – the Ward 16 councillor – be slapped with a formal written warning for starting an IDP meeting in New Brighton an hour before the scheduled time.
The meeting was meant to be convened by Trollip, but by the time the political bosses of City Hall arrived, the meeting was already well under way.
His actions were found by the special committee – made up of five members from the governing coalition, two from the ANC, one from the EFF and one from the AIC – to have contravened the Code of Conduct for councillors.
The decision was discussed by the council at a meeting on Wednesday.
Sabani declined to comment on the decision and referred questions to ANC caucus leader councillor Bicks Ndoni.
Ndoni said the party would appeal against the ruling and Sabani’s actions were as a result of a political misunderstanding as ANC councillors felt sidelined on matters pertaining to their wards.
Ndoni believes that the matter could have been resolved politically.
“This thing happened because there was a political misunderstanding in respect of the powers of ward councillors and their role in wards because the mayor [Trollip] would just come in to their wards without speaking to them and they felt they were being reduced to sheer spectators in their own wards,” Ndoni said.
He said the ANC had opposed the sanction.
“There is recourse. You can appeal to the MEC of Cogta and we are going to put the whole story to him so that it won’t happen again,” he said.
Ndoni also criticised the presence of speaker Jonathan Lawack and chief whip Werner Senekal, who were initially part of the committee but withdrew.
Lawack said after they recused themselves, the entire process was started afresh.