High drama as councillor and guards square off
Business came to standstill at Gaborone City Council on Wednesday after Old Naledi North Councillor, Oarabile Motlaleng, refused to leave the chambers as per the Mayor, Austin Abraham’s instructions.
Security guards tried to force the controversial councillor out of the building but he resisted, leading to a dramatic scuffle which brought council proceedings to a halt.
In an interview with this publication, the fuming councillor said he was not letting the matter pass and that he intended to take the council to court.
He said that trouble started after he refused to withdraw some of the remarks he made during his response to the mayor’s speech.
“The mayor told councillors that revenue collection remains a challenge that leads to serious cash flow problems since oftentimes expenditure exceeds income. In my response, I pointed out that he was a culprit, too, since he is owing the council. He has a stall at the bus rank which has not been paying rent and his bill is between P70 and P90,000,” said the Umbrella for Democratic Change councillor. He accused the mayor of oppressing him, saying every time he raises a point, he is forced to withdraw. “I was raising many points, like being in the same house with the member who was convicted by court for social ills.”
However, Abraham described Motlaleng as a ‘dramatic’ member who likes to tarnish people’s names. “He was out of order. He knows that some of the matters he was talking about are discussed at committee level, not in the gallery.” Regarding the fight, the mayor said that the affected guards were to open a case of assault against Motlaleng. “He kicked and injured them and now he wants to play victim, we cannot tolerate that,” added the mayor, who went further and confirmed having a tuckshop/stall at the bus rank. “I was long allocated the stall in 2006, why is it an issue now? It is clear that the councillor is after tarnishing our names.”