New acting ANC mayor for Tlokwe

2013-12-13 17:06

The fiercely-contested Tlokwe municipality in the North West has a new mayor.

The DA and the ANC have been involved in a tug of war since mid-2012 over the position and now the latter is back at the helm of the council, which is based in Potchefstroom.

The ANC won six wards in by-elections held in Tlokwe this week.

An acting mayor, Elias Mogoemang, an ANC ward councillor since 2011, was elected in a council meeting earlier today but a source close to the ANC said he was only warming the seat for someone else.

Tlokwe would likely have a new mayor in the new year.

It is understood that the ANC has someone in mind for the position of mayor but that person is not yet part of the council and the ruling party was hoping to appoint him when it fills two vacant proportional list councillors’ seats next year.

One of the two new councillors will, according to two independent sources, then be appointed the new mayor of Tlokwe.

The two seats were left vacant when former Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle and ANC Tlokwe chief whip Dakota Legoete occupied full-time positions at the North West legislature and the ANC provincial office respectively.

The position of mayor has been occupied by the DA’s Annette Combrink and the ANC’s Maphetle in recent history.

The latter was ousted in a motion of no confidence that was supported by the ANC’s own councillors in July last year, giving the DA the mayoral seat on a silver platter.

After intervention by Luthuli House, ANC councillors were pressured to correct this and Maphetle was voted back into office.

His return to the office was short-lived after the ANC councillors defiantly supported another motion to kick him out.

Combrink was once again elected the new mayor but took at least a month to occupy the office with Maphetle refusing to vacate it until the North Gauteng High Court ruled that he was an “illegal squatter”.

To remedy this, the ANC then resolved to fire 14 councillors who were involved in Maphetle’s removal as mayor. Five of the 14 were immediately replaced as they were proportional councillors, leaving nine ward councillors’ seats up for grabs through by-elections.

Three positions were filled previously. The ANC won the remaining six seats in this week’s by-elections which were followed by today’s meeting where the ruling party finally regained its majority status in the council and used it to reclaim the position of mayor.

Maphetle could not, however, be re-elected mayor as he had already been deployed and is currently holding the position of executive manager of corporate affairs in the North West legislature.

Legoete, who many had thought would become the mayor after Maphetle was redeployed, was also elected to a full-time position – as the ANC provincial secretary – last month.

Maphetle and Legoete were present in today’s council meeting, which is believed to have been their last appearance in Tlokwe chambers as councillors. They will now be based in the province’s capital city, Mahikeng.

Attempts to get comment from the ANC were unsuccessful but Combrink confirmed that she was no longer the mayor of Tlokwe and that the ANC had taken over.

“The outcome was expected after the ANC won the by-elections. I resigned before the motion was served today,” Combrink said.

“I tendered my resignation and we also withdrew the motion (to oust the ANC speaker) and it would have been defeated (given the ANC is now in the majority)."

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