Limpopo ANC applies for leave to appeal court decision on Meriam Molala

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Molala was appointed last year after the departure of Naledi Sibanda.

The ANC in the Peter Mokaba region in Limpopo is appealing the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane’s judgment which nullified Meriam Molala’s position as mayor for the Lepelle-Nkumpi local municipality. But ANC party caucus members at a municipal meeting last week shot down the move to appeal the judgment.

“We could not agree with the move because we felt cheated and used by some of our own, who wanted to use us for their own political gains,” said one councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

“We are baffled that this time around they want us to discuss the matter while they failed to consult us when the matter was going to court. They did not seek our blessings in the first place. Why do they now want us to discuss the matter with them?

“This is their fight and they must fight it to the bitter end. But I assure you, once they appeal, they will come out of the court with a bloodied nose because you can’t fight a losing battle,” said the councillor.

Another one said: “Going to court is a waste of taxpayers’ money. The region is just buying time until after the local government elections so that their political camarilla [mayor] could continue smiling all the way to the bank with her monthly salary.”

The brouhaha comes after last week’s judgment, which ruled Moala’s appointment as councillor and mayor was flawed. This was after an ANC Hillary Mahlatji branch member, Lehlaga Mphahlele, a lecturer at the University of Limpopo, challenged her appointment, claiming it was illegal and unconstitutional.

Molala was appointed last year after the departure of Naledi Sibanda. Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha and ANC provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane fired Sibanda and six other mayors after they allegedly illegally invested R1.2 billion into the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank, contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Mphahlele argued in court papers that when Molala was appointed, she was not on the candidate list of prospective councillors. He claimed he was the only ANC member left to be appointed as he was number 11 on the list after the remaining 10 were appointed as councillors.

In light of this, the high court ruled in his favour.

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