Tshwane council meeting to elect Mokgalapa’s replacement collapses

Tshwane council meeting to elect Mokgalapa’s replacement collapses

General chaos during a special council sitting at Tshwane House, 5 December 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The DA was expected to maintain its grip of the Tshwane metro while the EFF were expected to oppose.

Calls for Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe to resign have resulted in another council sitting collapse as both the ANC and EFF have walked out of the meeting intended to elect former mayor Stevens Mokgalapa’s replacement.

This is the sixth time Tshwane council has collapsed since December. While Tshwane remains mayor-less, Mathebe has maintained she will not resign.

She told councillors she didn’t have to.

The EFF and ANC walked out of council chambers saying Mathebe must resign.

ANC councillor Johnny Mohlala said: “You are not going to chair this meeting. We will ensure that when we come back next time, you are not sitting there. We are not going to continue with this meeting the way you want it to continue.”

The EFF’s Moafrika Mabogoane said the EFF had information that the speaker wanted to rig the votes.

“We have lost confidence in the speaker. That is why we want her to resign,” Mobogoane said.

“If you resign now, we are willing to participate and elect a new mayor. You denied us an opportunity in January to engage on the matter.

“MEC Lebogang Maile sent you papers to debate here in this council, and you have failed as a speaker many times, and have failed the people of Tshwane. We want to discuss your conduct when we meet again next time.”

As pressure mounts against the DA to elect a replacement for Mokgalapa, the DA announced Randall Williams as its mayoral candidate for the metro.

The opposition dismissed objections to its mayoral candidate last week after announcing that Williams would be its choice to replace Mokgalapa who resigned as mayor earlier in February, following mounting pressure from opposition parties for him to go.

Mokgalapa was placed on special leave in November following a leaked audio of him and former Tshwane transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge during which they discussed party members.

A DA federal council recommended that Mokgalapa face disciplinary hearings for the comments he made about his colleagues and governance issues in the audio recording.

Wednesday marked Mokgalapa’s last day in office and the collapsed council sitting was set to carve a way forward for Tshwane with a possible mayor.

The EFF has maintained they will vote against the DA as they had done in Johannesburg, a brazen move which saw the DA lose control of the metro.

Numerous attempts for a motion of no confidence and to remove the DA leadership have failed over recent months, with one sitting finding its way onto the court roll.

The Gauteng government has also attempted to intervene on numerous occasions, with housing MEC Lebogang Maile recently suspending the speaker of council, only to later rescind on his decision.

While the likelihood of a DA mayor remains slim, both the ANC and EFF have not fielded a candidate.

Tshwane ANC chairperson Kgoši Maepa has however taken to social media to place doubt in the DA’s preferred choice.

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