Tshwane special sitting to decide on Williams’ U-turn on resignation

The City of Tshwane council will on Wednesday convene a special sitting in which outgoing executive mayor Randall Williams’ notice of resignation will be considered.

In his resignation letter on Monday, Williams said he is resigning to ensure stability in the city. He noted that he does not want the political instability in the cities of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to spill over to Tshwane.

He said his resignation took effect from midnight, however, a few hours later the mayor tendered an amended resignation letter in which he said he will only vacate the office by February 28, contending that his extended stay will ensure that the “core work” of the city continues uninterrupted.

“After consultation with various political parties in Tshwane and in order to ensure the continuity of the work of council, I have subsequently written to the speaker and chief whip and amended my resignation to take effect from midnight on 28 February 2023,” he said.

“This will ensure that the core work of the city is not interrupted and that the mayoral committee remains in place. During this period, I have requested that [the] MMC for finance and leader of executive business, Alderman Peter Sutton, take on the role of acting executive mayor.”

It is still not clear whether Williams’ amended resignation will be adopted.

Vanessa de Sousa, spokesperson for the speaker in Tshwane, confirmed to Sunday World that the letters will only be considered during a special sitting on Wednesday.

She said only then will the council know how to take the issue of the city’s mayorship forward.

“There is a special council tomorrow [Wednesday] to discuss the mayor’s resignation and then we will take it from there. [The speaker’s decision with regard to the amended letter] will also be addressed in the special council meeting. Council will decide which letter will be considered,” said De Sousa.

Reacting to Williams’ amended resignation notice, the EFF in Tshwane said his extended stay will be fraudulent and illegal.

“The Economic Freedom Fighters in Tshwane rejects with contempt the intentions of the Democratic Alliance member Randal Williams to fraudulently return to the office of the executive mayor of Tshwane municipality,” said the EFF.

“Mr Williams voluntarily stated that his resignation, tendered on 13 February 2023, runs until midnight. Reserving his right to consciously resign in writing as enshrined in section 27[a] of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998, Mr Randal Williams is officially the former executive mayor of Tshwane municipality.

“In a sudden twist of events, Mr Williams submitted another letter to retract his resignation, suggesting [that] he will effectively vacate office on 28 February 2023.”

The party argued that Williams should understand that his amended resignation is unlawful, because he is a legal practitioner in his own capacity.

The EFF also cautioned that he cannot be the one to assume the powers of the municipal council by appointing an acting executive mayor.

According to the party, the council will need to meet first and preside over this matter, adding that the speaker will need to urgently convene a special sitting, otherwise Williams will face physical removal from office.

“The speaker of council, Dr Murunwa Makwarela, must urgently convene a council meeting to elect a new mayor. As councillor, Sutton cannot be appointed on behalf of the municipal council

“Any attempt by councilor Williams to illegally occupy the mayoral office of the city will result in his physical removal by the EFF, which later will take legal action against him. Consequently, all members of the mayoral committee must surrender all the privileges attached to their office with immediate effect.

“Tshwane EFF calls upon the speaker to uphold Randal Williams’ letter of resignation effective February 13, 2023, at midnight. It is incumbent upon the speaker to act consistently with the law, rules, and orders of the council and not arbitrarily, as implied by Randal Williams.”

Also read: Tshwane mayor resigns to ensure stability in multi-party coalition

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