DA guns for mayor of Rustenburg

2016-10-02 06:01
Mpho Khunou

Mpho Khunou

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Having succeeded in forcing the Rustenburg council’s speaker, Sheila Mabale-Huma, to step down, the DA opposition in North West’s biggest municipality is now setting its sights on the mayor, Mpho Khunou.

A joint caucus of opposition parties in Rustenburg agreed during a meeting on Thursday that the DA’s court challenge – which triggered Mabale-Huma’s resignation – should be extended to probe all alleged irregularities during the first sitting of council on August 19, including the election of the mayor and other full-time councillors.

At the first sitting of any council, the speaker is the first to be elected and subsequently presides over the election of other positions, including that of the mayor and chief whip, which means that the municipality can be forced to rerun all positions if the alleged irregular election of the speaker is confirmed by a court.

The court hearing on the alleged irregular election of Mabale-Huma is scheduled to be heard on Thursday in the Mafikeng High Court.

Not lawfully elected

The DA alleges that Mabale-Huma was not lawfully elected because the presiding officer had not had the necessary authority. The party says that after the first round of the election ended in a tie, there should not have been an immediate rerun until the next sitting.

However, North West ANC deputy secretary Suzan Dantjie told City Press that Khunou would remain in his position because his election did not form part of the DA’s court challenge.

Dantjie said on Friday that the ANC still held the “ace card” and would continue to run the local municipality even if the joint opposition were to succeed in calling for a rerun.

She pointed to the fact that the opposition never disputed the process as it was followed during the first council sitting, because they then still had high hopes to overthrow the ANC.

On Friday, the ANC pushed for a special council sitting to elect the new speaker. However, the opposition blocked the move by requesting that the sitting be postponed on the grounds that the notice had been posted late – resulting in another meeting being scheduled for Tuesday.

'Majority rules'

Dantjie said: “In our view, those councillors were elected and are empowered to correct the issue. Why go to court? This matter does not need any court. They must just convene and correct what needs to be corrected.

“We are not afraid. We are still the majority. If the majority says we must rerun, we will reconvene. We are in a democracy and the majority rules,” said Dantjie.

The ANC needed only two more seats to take its tally in the council to the required majority of 45 seats, while both the Economic Freedom Fighters (24 seats) and the DA (14 seats) would need seven more seats to topple the governing party. The little-known Botho Community Movement, based in Rustenburg’s Boitekong township, and one unidentified opposition councillor have voted with the ANC.

Meanwhile, Bosa Ledwaba of Forum 4 Service Delivery, an association of independent candidates, said the ANC was in a rush to have a new speaker elected to avoid a court sanction.

Ledwaba said the DA had agreed to amend its legal challenge so that the election of the mayor and other key posts could also be decided by the court. Ledwaba had been the opposition’s candidate for the speaker position and tied with Mabale-Huma in the first round before losing the rerun. Municipality insiders said uncertainty over the status of the first sitting has delayed the appointment of a municipal manager.

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Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  rustenburg  |  politics

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