Interim court order against Tshwane mayor’s removal extended

Earlier this month, Judge Tuchten suspended all resolutions made in a meeting that saw a major potential shift of power in the capital city.

An interim court order that halted the removal of DA Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa earlier this month was extended in the high court on Tuesday until Thursday.

An additional application was made by Deputy Speaker Zweli Khumalo, Speaker Katlego Mathebe, Mokgalapa and acting mayor Abel Tau, which the ANC’s legal team said they never received.

The ANC’s lawyer, Advocate Phazha Ngandwe, said his team required time to peruse the last-minute submission before responding.

Judge J Tuchten granted the request, stating that this would also extend the interim court order obtained on 6 December, which suspended council resolutions and the two no-confidence votes.

The Tshwane ANC and EFF successfully ousted Mokgalapa and Mathebe when 110 votes were for the motion of no confidence at a special council sitting on 5 December.

The DA, however, took legal action, stating that the ANC and red berets had orchestrated a coup by “hijacking” the sitting.

This came after Mathebe recused herself from the sitting in an attempt to avoid a conflict of interest in the motion against her. Gauteng’s department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) presided over the meeting and allowed both the EFF and ANC to nominate EFF councillor Obakeng Ramabodu to act in the speaker’s role.

Earlier this month the court papers read: “Pending the finalisation of these applications, all resolutions passed by the continuation meeting are suspended and of no effect, including: the appointment of an acting speaker; the passing of motion of no confidence in the speaker and removing her from office; the passing of a motion of no confidence in the mayor and removing the mayor from office.”

Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile announced on 6 December they would place the city under administration as service delivery and supply chain challenges compromised the city’s functionality.

“Gauteng Provincial [executive committee] has been left with no choice but to invoke the provisions of Section 139(1) read together with Section 154 of the Constitution, by taking appropriate steps to support and strengthen the capacity of the City of Tshwane to effectively execute the constitutional objectives of local government as embedded in section 152 of the Constitution. This will assist in restoring functionality, governance stability and adequate service delivery in the City,” a statement read.

DA Gauteng caucus leader and former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga rejected Cogta’s solution, stating it was both constitutionally and procedurally wrong as the city was not given any reasons as to why it needed saving.

“MEC Maile made serious allegations without evidence such as the city not being able to deliver on its core mandate as well as with regards to the financial wellbeing of the city. MEC Maile is desperate to try and prevent any form of opposition governance in this province,” Msimanga said.

On 8 December Msimanga said at a press conference: “The MEC’s political posturing lacks credibility and substance as he did not follow due process as set out by the Constitution.”

Maile later said the DA was showing desperation itself, and he had been following the correct procedures. He accused them of not understanding the process and defended his actions.

The DA was highly critical of Maile sending a Cogta representative to preside over the Tshwane no-confidence vote despite a vacancy not being declared in council for such a representative to fill. Msimanga said this was evidence of a mere political stratagem by the “desperate” ANC to once again get access to the city’s funds.

“The first step in the ANC-led Gauteng provincial government’s plan to hijack the City of Tshwane was the attempted coup d’etat on Thursday night when they tried to illegally appoint an acting speaker and remove mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and speaker Katlego Mathebe from office.

“These resolutions were subsequently suspended by the North Gauteng High Court … this is an indication that the ANC-led Gauteng provincial government is acting against the Constitution, and against the interests of the people of Tshwane.”


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