'Mokgalapa is nowhere near suitable' - objection lodged against DA Tshwane mayoral candidate

2019-02-06 22:33
The DA unveils Stevens Mokgalapa as the City of Tshwane's new mayor on February 3, 2019. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

The DA unveils Stevens Mokgalapa as the City of Tshwane's new mayor on February 3, 2019. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

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A Tshwane resident and former DA council member has added to the DA's pre-election woes, sending the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) an objection to the party's attempt to add its mayoral candidate to its local government list.

Lex Middleburg claims that the party he once was a member of contravened the Electoral Act through its attempt to move Stevens Mokgalapa from the National Assembly into the local government sphere.

But the DA says he is mistaken.

The party announced on Sunday that Mokgalapa was its pick to replace Solly Msimanga, who resigned last month and who will have his last day in office on February 11.

Mokgalapa is the party's shadow minister of international relations.

He will give up his seat in the National Assembly in the hope of clearing the service delivery "backlog" in South Africa's capital city.

However, Middleburg insisted that it was not legal for the DA to move him from serving in one structure to serving in another.

He also claimed that Mokgalapa was not fit to lead.

In a letter to IEC chairperson Glenn Mashinini, Middleburg claimed he was raising concern as a citizen of Tshwane, who would be directly affected by the development. News24 has seen the letter.

He added that the DA changed its list towards the end of 2018 and insisted that Mokgalapa was not on the original list sent to the elections body.

"At the time of that selection, Mr Mokgalapa was not at the top of the DA's list of candidates for the council of the City of Tshwane – in fact his name did not appear," Middleburg said.

He further argued that the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000 made no provision for a political party to review its list of candidates following municipal elections, while the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 and regulations pertaining to the provincial legislature and National Assembly, allowed a party to review its lists annually.

Speaking to News24 telephonically, Middleburg confirmed he sent the letter to the IEC on Tuesday. He insisted he was entitled to know what was happening with the DA's list.

"Parties cannot simply replace the names on a list at will because we voted for the people on the list," Middleburg told News24.

He described the DA-run municipality as a "mess" and raised concern about Mokgalapa.

"Mokgalapa is nowhere near suitable," he said.

"I don't believe he is suitable material to be a mayor. I pay rates and taxes so I am entitled to have a say," continued Middleburg.

Middleburg, who resigned shortly after Msimanga was appointed mayor, said he had warned the party: "I said there were no people who could govern the City on that list. They don't have quality people who can govern, and we've been proven right."

Meanwhile, DA Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty has accused Middleburg of confusing regulations relating to candidate lists.

"He is wrong in law. Only for Parliament is it required for your list to be frozen. In municipal cases, you can change your list as often as you like," said Moriarty.

He said the DA's nomination regulations allowed the mayoral candidate to be Number One on the party's list. The minute Mokgalapa was selected the party's mayoral candidate, he automatically became Number One on the Tshwane list.

Moriarty said he would get in touch with the IEC to explain his party's position on the matter and furnish Middleburg with a lawyer's letter explaining the different regulations.

Moriarty also commented on Middleburg's view of Mokgalapa's fitness, saying that he was "entirely wrong". He said, if the DA had an issue with or was not satisfied with its candidate, it would have called for fresh nominations.

He said praised the vision and programme outlined by Mokgalapa and the three other candidates who were vying for the mayoral post, describing all of them as "excellent choices".

"Mokgalapa and the others made presentations on how they would run the City and persuaded the selection panel," he said.

Read more on:    da  |  stevens mokgalapa

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