26 October 2017
Full Council Decision
A decision to defer the proposed Rules of Order Amendment By-law to the next Council meeting scheduled for next month was taken at a Full Council meeting today, 26 October.
The proposed Rules of Order Amendment By-law aims to ensure that Council’s rules and orders are kept updated and relevant to its business and proceedings and does not ban the public or members of the media from attending any of the City meetings.
Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Chairperson Councillor Mondli Mthembu recommended the item be deferred saying he was confident all due processes have been followed and that the proposed By-law met all legal requirements.
“Even if we refer it back to the Executive Committee or adopt it at the next Council meeting it will come back the same as all processes have been followed. The deferment will allow us to do things the correct way so individuals will not make unfounded claims about it,” he added.
In general the Principal By-law has been amended to insert certain definitions, provide clarity in respect of the dissolution of Council, provide circumstances in terms of which the Executive Committee may close its meeting to the public and media and provide clarity on matters pertaining to the attendance of councillors at meetings.
It is no way intends to discourage the public or media from attending and reporting on meetings.
The By-law has also been amended to provide for the order of business for a special meeting, to allow the Speaker to make a ruling in the event of an unseen eventuality, to provide a structure for the removal of a person from meeting where such a person is directed by the Speaker to leave, to extend the types of conduct which are not permitted by Councillors, officials and the public at meetings as well as to provide the Speaker with guidance when considering an application for an urgent motion. Finally, it provides how matters requiring an immediate decision may be dealt with during recess and emergencies and provide for matters connected therewith.
While members of the public are encouraged to attend Full Council meetings to better understand decisions taken regarding service delivery and the effective management of the City, they are encouraged to adhere to the rules of the seating.
This comes as Speaker William Mapena asked members of the public, comprising mostly of residents from the Bottlebrush Informal Settlement, seated in the gallery of City Hall to leave the meeting as they grew increasingly rowdy during proceedings. This occurred as an item regarding electrification at the Informal Settlement was being discussed where according to Section 27 of the Rules of Order, councillors’ questions posed to the Speaker’s Office were being addressed.
Speaker Mapena reminded the public that they were present as guests during the meeting and urged them to abide by the Rules of Order governing the meeting. However, despite repeated requests to quiet down and allow proceedings to continue the public continued to disrupt the meeting. Security was then called in to assist members of the public to quietly leave the meeting.
Speaker Mapena said there are rules that should be followed and processes be adhered to.
“If you are a guest of someone you abide by their rules. You cannot be a law unto yourself. Whether this (disruption) was staged or not, it should not happen again. If you want to picket you are allowed to do so by following the correct processes to protest in a legal manner.”
He added if the disruption was planned by any councillor he encouraged them to desist from doing so again as it is against the rules.
At a later stage of the meeting Speaker Mapena asked a councillor to leave after he disrupted the meeting. After the councillor refused to do so,
Speaker Mapena requested security management to assist the councillor to leave so the meeting could continue uninterrupted.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications Tozi Mthethwa.
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