Mogalakwena: ANC factions lock horns ahead of polls

2014-11-25 20:57

The battle for control of Mogalakwena municipality, which has two mayors leading warring ANC factions, is far from over as each faction has resolved to have the opposing mayor removed from office.

The Limpopo municipality found itself with two mayors after the ANC and the provincial government endorsed Tlhalefi Mashamaite over a week ago. Mashamaite was removed from office amid allegations of questionably acquiring a throng of bodyguards for himself.

He was replaced by William Mabuela, who together with 21 other councillors was expelled by the ANC for bringing the party into disrepute when they voted with the opposition for Mashamaite’s removal.

Mabuela’s group, working together with the DA, is now running the council in defiance of the ANC’s orders for them to seize representing the party. Yesterday, Mashamaite was accompanied by police when he to occupy his office at Mogalakwena.

“The council is now in the right hands and no more in the hands of hooligans. Those councillors have been expelled by the ANC and have lost their battle in court but continue to confuse the community when they are actually not part of Mogalakwena anymore,” said Mashamaite today.

He said his council had decided in its meeting held at the Mogalakwena chambers that Mabuela and his group would be removed from the municipal system and “whoever continues to pay them will be liable for their salaries”.

A short distance away at a local hotel, Mabuela’s faction of councillors decided that processes for the removal of Mashamaite and 15 others from their positions as councillors should be launched.

The 16 are accused of absenteeism from council meetings and failing to explain their actions when asked to.

Mabuela’s group then went on to discuss other matters and took a resolution that because Mashamaite as a mayor was entitled to security, he should only pay interest accrued on the amount owed to the service provider and not the whole amount.

The DA wanted Mashamaite to pay the whole amount believed to be about R1 million but were later outvoted.

The council went on to decide on other matters including salary increases for managers as well as by-laws. Mashamaite, however, said they were just wasting their time.

“We are back to stabilise the municipality and we know what we want and what we don’t want,” he said.

Asked about why there was a new security company now operating at the municipal head office on his first day at work, Mashamaite said his council had resolved to get rid of the old one hired by Mabuela’s group.

“We could not continue keeping security officers who fight the police and prevent them from entering municipal premises. What type of a security company is that?” he asked.

Mashamaite was referring to an incident where security officials prevented him and others from accessing council offices after a court order was obtained barring him from holding a meeting there unless it is called by the Speaker.

It was for this reason that a council meeting where he was elected was held at a local hotel and not council chambers.

Meanwhile, police continued to patrol Mogalakwena areas amid tensions ahead of tomorrow’s by-elections in 13 wards following the expulsion of 22 councillors form the ANC.

Nine proportional-list councillors have since been replaced and the ANC has nominated 13 representatives to contest the by-elections.

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