UPDATE | Embattled Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa announces resignation, DA thanks him for his service

2020-02-02 10:25
Stevens Mokgalapa (PHOTO: Deaan Vivier)

Stevens Mokgalapa (PHOTO: Deaan Vivier)

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Embattled mayor of the City of Tshwane and DA member, Stevens Mokgalapa, on Sunday announced his intention to resign at the end of this month.

In a statement, Mokgalapa says he will resign "before the next Council meeting at the end of February".

Mokgalapa says it has been a "tough decision" to make.

On Saturday, News24 revealed that DA party leaders had urged Mokgalapa to resign or be forced out of his position, a move which could severely dent his political career.

Party insiders said leaders were preparing to invoke the so-called "De Lille clause" to remove Mokgalapa if he refused to go.

The "De Lille clause" refers to an amendment the party adopted at its 2018 elective conference. It makes it easier for the party to recall members in government positions if they've "lost the confidence of the party".

Patricia de Lille was locked in a lengthy and very public battle with the DA's leadership during her tenure as executive mayor of Cape Town.

It's understood the DA's caucus in the Tshwane council had approached federal committee chair Helen Zille to discuss their concerns. The Freedom Front Plus, the DA's coalition partner in Tshwane, also met with the party to have a "responsible discussion" about service delivery.

In his statement, Mokgalapa said the "most important consideration" was "to put the people of Tshwane first".

"In my view, stepping down would pave the way for further progress beyond that which was achieved in my term this far.

He said he was aware that his "presence in office is a football that others with political malice cannot resist kicking around".

"I wish to make clear that I have not broken any laws and am confident that I would emerge positively from any assessment of my conduct," he added.

"I intend working every second of every hour of my last month in office. In doing so, I will announce further successes from my administration and will make known plans that I will hand over to my successor."

"I love this city, I was born and bred in this city, I love its people, too much to further allow this to continue," Mokgalapa told News24, just minutes after releasing a statement announcing his decision.

"I am doing this with the people of Tshwane in mind," he continued.

Mokgalapa has faced increasing pressure after the emergence of an audio recording which his opponents claim is a sex tape and over his ability to deal with sensitive council matters, some of which he inherited from his predecessor Solly Msimanga.

He was placed on special leave in November following the release of an audio recording allegedly featuring him and then-Transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge engaging in an intimate act in the municipality's offices.

DA notes Mokgalapa's resignation announcement

Soon after Mokgalapa's announcement, the DA's Gauteng leader John Moodey said the party "notes" his intention to step aside.

Moodey said the party would now "initiate processes to nominate a new mayor".

"In doing so, we will assess the candidates who make themselves available and will consult widely, including with our coalition partners," added Moodey.

"The DA will select the person who will provide the greatest prospect of successful service delivery for the remainder of the term of office. We thank Mayor Mokgalapa for his service. We are aware of many good things that he has achieved, but accept his resignation."

Speaker of Council Katlego Mathebe, who is facing her own attacks from the ANC, EFF and Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile, has been touted by some as a possible replacement.

Read more on:    da  |  city of tshwane  |  stevens mokgalapa  |  pretoria  |  politics

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