Yesterday, police acting under the orders of Police General Mphalatji, and without a warrant, court order, provincial or national instruction, staged what can only be described as a coup d’etat at the Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo.
Police officers reportedly attacked security officers, staff and municipal councillors, pointed firearms at them and ordered them to lie on the floor. SAPS officers eventually ordered councillors to leave the municipal buildings, and have since taken control of the municipal buildings.
They allegedly arrested the municipal manager, and forced the council to swear in 9 new PR councillors. This meeting had no notice, agenda or democratic mandate and therefore has to be considered illegal.
The DA provincial leader, Jacques Smalle, has been refused access to the council buildings.
Both the Minister of Police and of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs must urgently appear before parliament to answer the following questions:
Who authorised this action?
On what grounds can the police ever intervene in the running of a municipality?
What disciplinary action will be taken against the police officials involved?
What assurance they can provide to ensure that a similar event does not re-occur?
General Mphalatji and his men must be thrown out of the municipal offices and arrested immediately. I will be liaising with the MEC for Safety and Security, Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana, to request that urgent action be taken by the SAPS.
Steps must be taken immediately to restore the democratic order, elected councillors must be reinstated and the municipal managers re employed.
If this matter is not dealt with appropriately, South Africa is on a slippery slope into anarchy and its democracy is at stake.