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DA lays charges against Bay Speaker over Disaster Management Regulations

May 2, 2020
DA lays charges against Bay Speaker over Disaster Management Regulations

Port Elizabeth - On Friday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Nelson Mandela Bay said that it had laid criminal charges against the Speaker of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Cllr Buyelwa Mafaya, for contravening the Disaster Management Regulations and allegedly essentially spreading fake news.

"The charges are in relation to contravening the Disaster Management Regulations specifically as they pertain to the publishing of statements with the intention to deceive," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga.

"On 30 April 2020, the Speaker sent a directive to all councillors advising that they will now be restricted to their own wards when attending to essential needs. The Speaker indicated that only members of the municipal executive will be allowed unrestricted movements to perform their respective responsibilities in the Metro.

"Cllr Mafaya stated all permits issued to councillors will expire on 30 April 2020 and should not be used beyond this date. The Speaker indicated that new permits which restrict the movement of councillors within ward level would be issued in due course and she is currently in consultation with the head of Disaster Management in this regard."

Bhanga said that the new “Level 4” lockdown regulations issued on 29 April 2020 state that councillors duties still fall under essential services – as stated in the Level 5 regulations.

"All councillors are regarded as performing an essential service and must be issued with permits in this regard. Any attempt to limit this by arbitrary means, such as restricting them towards, is a gross misinterpretation of the regulations," he described.

"The notion that the regulation means “only the executive” of a local council is inconsistent with the application of the same wording in the Level 5 regulations, in which all councillors were issued the same permits.

"The basis for the directive is misguided and must thus be rectified.

"Councillors play an integral role in their communities and must be able to continue their work and oversight.

"The DA will not stand idly by and allow the Speaker to deprive residents of all the assistance they can possibly receive."

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