• To preside over Municipal Council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
• To provide information and recommendations to the Municipal Council with respect to the role of Council;
• To carry out the duties of Chairperson of the Municipal Council under the Structures Act, Systems Act, the Municipality‘s Rules of Order, common law and tradition;
• To enforce the Code of Conduct; and
• To exercise delegated authority.
POWERS AND FUNCTIONS
The powers and functions of the Speaker are twofold, i.e. Chairperson of the Council and Enforcer of the Code of Conduct.
The Municipal Council has also appointed the office of the Speaker as the appeal authority in terms of the PAIA.
THE AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Speaker‘s area of responsibility from a geographical perspective is limited to the geographical area of the Municipality. Due to the municipality‘s involvement in co-operative governance the influence of the Speaker would also extend to the activities of a speaker‘s forum and other provincial bodies.
As regards the functional area the Speaker possesses all the powers attached by law to the office as well as those powers that has been delegated to him/her or is derived from the common law.
CONVENES THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
The Speaker decides when and where the council meets. The only limitation of the Speaker‘s power in this regard is
• The requirement that the council must meet at least quarterly; and
• The right of a majority of councilors to request the speaker to convene a council meeting at a time set out in the request.
The power to convene a meeting of the council is not limited to the giving of notice of the time, date and venue of meetings. The Speaker‘s has the incidental power to determine the business to be transacted at meetings and the format in which it is to be presented.
The Speaker is ultimately responsible for the proper compilation of the agenda, which includes quality, jurisdictional and compliance control. To this end the Speaker has the last say in what may be included in the agenda.
THE SPEAKER PRESIDES AT MEETINGS OF THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
The Speaker presides at meetings of the Municipal Council72 and must
• Maintain order at meetings;
• Ensure that council meetings are conducted according to the rules of order of the municipality;
• Ensure compliance of the Code of Conduct in the council and its committees;
• Protect a councilor’s right to freedom of speech at meetings of the council;
• Protect a councilor’s right to privilege;
• Must exercise a casting vote when there is an equality of votes on any question before the council;
• Sign the minutes of meetings to confirm that it represents a true reflection of what transpired at those meetings; and
• Arrange public access to meetings of the council.
The Speaker must ensure that the Rules of Order serves the needs of the day and must initiate amendments where necessary. It is also for that reason that Council has appointed the Speaker as Chairperson of the Rules Committee.
The Speaker is appointed as the “relevant authority‟ to hear appeals in terms of the PAIA.
ENFORCER OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT
The Speaker has the express authority to ensure compliance in the council and council committees with the Code of Conduct.
Council has also authorized the Speaker
• To grant leave of absence from meetings to councilors in terms the rules and orders of the council;
• To develop a uniform standing procedure for the imposition of a fine or the removal of a councilor for adoption by council;
• To introduce measures to ensure that a councilor is not in arrears to the municipality for rates and service charges for a period longer than 3 months.
In terms of item 13 of the Code of Conduct for Councilors the Speaker must, if of the opinion that a councilor has breached a provision of this Code –
(a) Authorise an investigation of the facts and circumstances of the alleged breach;
(b) Give the councillor a reasonable opportunity to reply in writing regarding the alleged breach;
(c) Report the matter thereafter to a meeting of the municipal council ; and
(d) Report the outcome of the investigation to the MEC for local government in the province concerned.
The Speaker must ensure that each councilor when taking office is given a copy of the Code and that a copy of the Code is available in every room or place where the council meets.
RECIPIENT OF DELEGATED POWERS AND DUTIES
The Speaker may also exercise the powers delegated to him/her by the municipal council in terms of section 59 of the Systems Act.