Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Cope’s Dr Murunwa Makwarela elected City of Tshwane mayor

The voting took place via secret ballot during a special council meeting on Tuesday.

City of Tshwane council speaker Dr Murunwa Makwarela has been elected the new executive mayor of the metropolitan municipality.

The Tshwane council convened a special meeting to vote for a mayor following the resignation of DA councillor Randall Williams.

DA councillor Cilliers Brink received 101 out of 213 votes, while Makwarela managed to secure 112 of the votes cast.

The voting took place via secret ballot.

‘Conflicting matters’

Brink, who recently resigned as Member of Parliament (MP), was selected as a mayoral candidate by the DA-led coalition and was sworn-in as a councillor in Tshwane last week.

It was first unclear whether the DA councillor would go uncontested before Makwarela was nominated from the floor on Tuesday.

Makwarela, who is a Congress of the People (Cope) councillor, accepted the nomination, with city manager, Johann Mettler, then presiding over the council sitting.

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One councilor, however, demanded Makwarela’s resignation on the spot, while another called for the speaker to recuse himself from the meeting.

“[The rules say] a councilor may not hold office as a speaker or mayor at the same. Equally, a councillor whom finds themselves in a point of conflict or contradictions in council where the matter is being discussed among them, in this case the speaker, must recuse themselves from council,” the councilor said.

“I feel there are two conflicting matters.”

The African National Congress (ANC) decided not to put forward any candidates from the governing party.

Last week, the DA and its coalition partners had a fallout with Makwarela accusing him of “jumping ship” to join forces with the ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Tshwane.

The political parties; which also include Cope, ActionSA, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and FF Plus, threatened to table a motion of no confidence in Makwarela after he did not allow an urgent special council meeting to elect a new mayor.

They further threatened legal action against Makwarela to compel him to convene a council sitting.

Williams’ resignation confusion

Earlier in the meeting, the EFF demanded that former MMCs return the funds illegally to them due to Williams’ two conflicting resignation letters.

Williams resigned from his position on 13 February, and appointed the City’s now former MMC for Finance, Peter Sutton, to act as mayor.

He later changed his resignation to come into effect on 28 February, but the EFF insisted that the former mayor’s first letter was valid.

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EFF members recently stormed to Tshwane House, demanding the removal of MMC because Williams’ resignation had dissolved the positions.

On Tuesday, EFF Tshwane regional leader Obakeng Ramabodu called for the former MMCs to be investigated by the council’s ethics committee.

“I want to support the issue of two letters of resignation. We need an explanation of why he submitted two resignation letters.

“We need to discipline some of the people who have undermined us. MMCs benefitted unduly because of the issue of the two letters. They imposed themselves and have taken the money from the City,” Ramabodu said.