Tshwane flying on autopilot after council meeting to elect new mayor collapses

27 February 2020 - 12:49
A council meeting to replace former mayor Stevens Mokgalapa collapsed again on Thursday as political parties butted heads.
Image: DA A council meeting to replace former mayor Stevens Mokgalapa collapsed again on Thursday as political parties butted heads.

A Tshwane council meeting, where the capital city's new mayor was expected to be elected, collapsed again on Thursday, raising fears that the provincial government may place the city under administration.

The city was expected to vote in the meeting for a new mayor after the resignation of Stevens Mokgalapa. It was also expected to debate and approve budget adjustments.

The DA had nominated economic development MMC Randall Williams to replace Mokgalapa. But calls by opposition parties, the ANC and EFF, for speaker Katlego Mathebe to resign from her post led to the collapse of the meeting just a few minutes after it started.

The development means the city is now flying on “autopilot”, with no mayor or permanent city manager.

Mokgalapa's resignation also means that all members of his mayoral committee will have to vacate office, leaving the city without any executive political leadership, except for the council.

The latest developments have increased the risk of the municipality being placed under administration by the provincial government.

Gauteng local government MEC Lebogang Maile has also started a process to have Mathebe investigated over her conduct relating to the collapse of previous council meetings, some of which were meant to have her removed via a motion of no confidence.

ANC Tshwane chairperson, Kgosi Maepa said they wanted Mathebe to be prevented from chairing the meeting on Thursday because of the investigation into her. “The ANC feels that it is time she steps aside because there is an investigation against her, by a senior counsel appointed independently,” said Maepa.

He said the party felt that “enough is enough”, Mathebe should step aside and allow council to elect an acting speaker to lead meetings. Maepa said the DA always asked members of his party to step aside when they faced a serious probe.

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey, however, criticised opposition parties for collapsing the council. “She is the speaker, lawfully speaking and legally speaking. How can you want her to resign?” he asked.

He said if the opposition parties wanted Mathebe out, they should go through the proper processes. Moodey believed the opposition wanted the municipality to be placed under administration.