Less than an hour ago, COPE’s CPC Secretary, Xolela Mjonondwana, backtracked on his cancellation of Bitou’s Deputy Mayor Adam Van Rhyner’s membership until he has had the opportunity for a disciplinary hearing (which confirms what i had said before).
However, he stated that he is suspended until such time and thus cannot represent COPE in Bitou council decisions. This is where the law gets muddy and lawyers and judges are needed as Van Rhyner represents two roles, one to COPE and the other to Bitou.
As he occupies a PR seat, COPE can replace him by advising the Municipal Manager (MM) that Adam is out. The MM has to inform the IEC of the vacancy and COPE has to ask the IEC to appoint whoever had the next most votes in the previous election. Alternatively, COPE can submit a new list but this will cause delay and, in the case of Bitou, a hung council as the new budget year begins. However, COPE, if Van Rhymer is willing, can still instruct him when to go to Council and how to vote.
Van Rhymer’s lawyers could argue that COPE not allowing him to participate on Council is in contravention of his his duty is to Bitou and constitutional obligation.