Gouws said all councillors had a duty to investigate complaints received from residents as they are representatives of and acting on behalf of the public in council.
"The role of a councillor is to exercise oversight of a municipality's affairs," Gouws said. "After receiving a complaint from a resident in Klein Brak River and requesting information from the municipality about possible illegal building activity, I received a call from the specific homeowner threatening me with legal action for so-called interference."
On a previous occasion, Gouws was threatened by an ex-DA public office bearer after asking for a correction to the Annual Statements of the 2016/17 financial year which Gouws said made claims that were false and misleading.
Gouws would like to highlight that it is a criminal offence to attempt to intimidate another person and that charges can be laid in accordance with the Intimidation Act 72 of 1982 and The Protection from Harassment Act 17 of 2011.
"Schedule 1 of the Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 states that councillors are elected to represent local communities on municipal councils and to ensure that municipalities have structured mechanisms of accountability to local communities.
"In fulfilling this role councillors must be accountable to local communities and no distinction is made between ward or proportional representation (PR) councillors," Gouws stated in the press release.
Rule of Law
"Furthermore, the Rule of Law principle is that nobody is above the law. "Another important application of the rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws or by laws which are adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps. This is known as 'due process', and ensures that all conduct and decisions must be made within the legal framework.
"The rule of law means that everyone must be subject to a shared set of rules that are applied universally and which treats all people fairly and equally," Gouws stated.
In attempting to achieve these aims Gouws said she will not be intimidated or prevented from exercising oversight or from fairly and equitably attending to complaints, queries, requests for assistance or concerns from the public.
She is committed to fairness, honesty and transparency in all her dealings and is committed to serving the public and Mossel Bay Municipality in accordance with the relevant acts and the mandate received from the electorate of Mossel Bay.
*The DA-lead Mossel Bay Council has been criticised continuously for abusing its political majority in council meetings to enforce a stronghold and to bulldoze controversial decisions through despite strong opposition from all other opposition parties.
This despite a statement from the new municipal manager, Thys Giliomee, that politics should play no role in municipalities except for an overview role . . .
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