Tlokwe: Judge rules ousting of mayor lawful

2013-07-29 11:17

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The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed an application to nullify the council meeting at which Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle was unseated.

“It is declared that the meeting of the Tlokwe city council... was properly constituted [and] lawful,” Judge Neil Tuchten said today.

“It is declared that the council’s resolution during the meeting... to adopt a motion that the second applicant [Maphetle] be removed with immediate effect... was lawful.”

He said the council’s election of Democratic Alliance councillor Annette Combrink at that meeting was also lawful.

“It is declared that the occupation of the municipal office premises by the second applicant and other respondents [to the DA’s counter application to have them vacate the offices]... is unlawful,” he said.

“The respondents... are hereby ordered to vacate the office premises... before 10am on the day following the granting of this order.”

Tuchten said the sheriff of the court was directed to evict whoever did not comply with the order. He ordered that no public funds be used by either party to settle the costs.

On July 2, Combrink was voted in as the new mayor for the second time since November, unseating Maphetle.

The application by Maphetle and Tlokwe speaker Barei Segotso sought to have the meeting at which Combrink was voted in as mayor nullified.

After the proceedings, Combrink said the judgment vindicated her.

“We now look forward to really taking good services to the people of the Tlokwe municipality,” she said. “We commit ourselves to working extremely hard to do right by the people, whose trust in us has been vindicated.”

African National Congress Tlokwe chief whip Dakota Legoete said the ANC remained confident it would reclaim the municipality.

“This is just a temporary setback,” he said.

On July 3, the day after the council meeting, the ANC’s North West provincial disciplinary committee expelled 14 of its councillors. They were also removed as Tlokwe councillors.

During proceedings on Tuesday, Tuchten asked whether the effects of the council meeting could not be put right by “democratic means“, since the ANC had stated it was the majority party in the Tlokwe municipality.

Wim Scholtz, for Maphetle and Segotso, said at the time there was a three-month moratorium on rescinding council decisions.

Tuchten asked why the ANC could not merely wait for the three months to end.

“Why can’t this await the democratic process of three months? Why should I be asked to put back what has now become a minority party [the ANC] based on a technicality?” he asked.

“What terrible things are going to happen in three months? Why can’t the ANC reap its allegedly just reward for its democratic majority in... in fact now two months’ time?“

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