Members of the police as well as the new acting Municipal Manager and Speaker were allegedly locked inside an office of the municipality while the keys were hidden to prevent anyone from opening the door.
CHAOS erupted at Phokwane Municipality on Wednesday where members of the police as well as the new acting Municipal Manager and Speaker were allegedly locked inside an office of the municipality while the keys were hidden to prevent anyone from opening the door.
This follows after the police were apparently notified that a municipal vehicle was being used by the former mayor, without permission.
Meanwhile the former Speaker, Portia Selogilwe and former mayor, Tebogo Afrika claimed that they were assaulted by bodyguards on Wednesday, while trying to enter the municipality.
A majority council took a resolution on December 23 to appoint Olebogeng Tumodi as the new mayor, while Goitsemodimo Halter was elected as the new Speaker and Mpho Mojaki was voted in as the acting municipal manager.
This follows after a motion of no confidence was brought against the mayor Tebogo Afrika and Speaker Portia Selogilwe.
An urgent interdict to prevent the removal of the acting municipal manager Busiswe Mgaguli was struck off the roll in the Northern Cape High Court on December 20.
Correspondence from the MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Bently Vass that was directed to the mayor (Tebogo Afrika) dated, December 23, indicated that the contract of the acting Municipal Manager Busiswe Mgaguli would be extended until March 31.
The costs of the secondment are to be funded by the municipality.
Vass granted “the request of council” to “provide support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities” … “by legislative and other measures to manage their own affairs, exercise their powers and perform their functions”.
Mojaki on Thursday stated that only the council had the authority to remove Tumodi, Mojaki and himself.
“Neither the MEC or President can remove us. We will remain in our positions until council decides otherwise. The former mayor (Afrika) and speaker (Selogilwe) are now ordinary councillors after a motion of no confidence was passed against them. They are also not entitled to be remunerated in line with their former positions.”
Phokwane Forum for Service Delivery councillor Mosimanegape Michael Setlhogomi indicated that “five taxi’s full of rowdy ANC members” congregated outside the municipality on Wednesday.
“A desperate attempt is being made to create a false impression that there is instability and no service delivery at Phokwane Municipality under a democratically elected leadership.
“The police had to ensure that Tumodi, Mojaki and Halter were allowed to enter the workplace.
“It is embarrassing for the Speaker (Selogilwe), who previously occupied such a high position to lock the police and officials in the office and shove the keys in her pants, to prevent access.”
He pointed out that Phokwane Municipality was a multi-party council.
“It is not a one man show and councillors, irrespective of their political colours, are standing up for what is right and will do everything in their power to prevent looting of council’s cookie jar. We intend to report acts of corruption at the municipality to the Hawks.”
Forum4Service Delivery regional coordinator James Ntema believed that the provincial government was interfering with council functions and impeding its administration.
“The mayor cannot make a request to extend Mgaguli’s contract, without a resolution from council. The so-called request was made two days after Mojaki was appointed by a fully constituted council. We cannot allow the council to be undermined, there is no problem at Phokwane, no one called the MEC for Coghsta in need of any intervention.”
He stated that it was their “duty and right” as councillors elected by communities to defend and fight for the integrity of Phokwane Municipality.
“The former mayor (Afrika) and speaker (Selogilwe) cannot preside over any council proceedings as they no longer have any authority. The new acting municipal manager was legally appointed as he has the best interests of the community at heart.”
Ntema indicated that the opposition and municipality at large refused to bow down to the ruling party.
“We will not cower when the ANC barks – they cannot dictate to the council, as they are the minority. We are progressively moving towards restoring normalcy at the municipality. The long standing culture of corruption at the municipality must now come to an end.”
ANC regional and provincial spokesperson Tshepo Louw stated that the Speaker (Selogilwe) and mayor (Afrika) as well as other female councillors had opened cases after being “brutally” assaulted by bodyguards on December 5.
“It is very painful, the poor Speaker’s hand was broken after she was manhandled by big men and the mayor was beaten like a young boy. The Speaker has been booked off, we are just waiting for her medical certificate.
“The bouncers accompanied the corporate services director (Mpho Mojaki).”
“Selogilwe never hid keys from anyone as she was not even able to access her office, she never locked anyone up.”
He denied that any ANC members had gathered outside the municipality.
“Our branch members are at home, preparing for the January 8 ANC birthday celebrations – it is community members who are protecting the municipality. The bouncers did not allow anyone inside the municipality. Services aren’t being rendered because opposition councillors are too focused on hijacking power. No council meeting can take place without the legitimate Speaker (Selogilwe) and mayor – Afrika.”
Louw stated that Mgaguli’s contract was extended to stabilise the municipality.
“The ANC prioritises service delivery for our people. It is concerning that the assault of female councillors took place in the presence of service delivery forums, who claim to support an end to gender based violence. The forums claim to be impartial and to represent the interests of the community, yet they are causing confusion as they have become the mouthpiece and are conniving with political parties.”
Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Kock indicated that the Hartswater Detectives were investigating a case of driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
“On Wednesday, January 5 at noon, SAPS members were coincidentally at the Phokwane Municipal building engaged in this matter when the incident occurred.”
He added that the Kimberley Public Order Policing and Hartswater SAPS members were maintaining police visibility and monitoring the situation around that area.
Coghsta and Phokwane Municipality could not be reached for comment.