The officials were instructed to hand over their office keys with ’immediate effect’ while they have been prohibited from occupying the premises.
PHOKWANE Municipality under the leadership of the majority councillors on January 7, obtained an urgent interim interdict against the Mayor Tebogo Afrika, the Speaker Portia Selogilwe, Acting Municipal Manager Busiswe Mgaguli and the ANC.
The court application was granted in the Northern Cape High Court on Friday, to restrain and interdict Afrika, Selogilwe and Mgaguli from unlawfully acting and or assuming the role of Mayor, Speaker or Acting Municipal Manager as well as blocking the entrance of the municipality, disrupting operations or damaging property.
The officials were instructed to hand over their office keys with “immediate effect” while they have been prohibited from occupying the premises.
They were also ordered not to intimidate, threaten or cause harm to any office bearer, member of the public wishing to enter the premises, or any of the majority councillors.
The SAPS will also assist the sheriff of the court if the officials fail to adhere to the interdict.
In court papers, the Director of Corporate Services and Acting Municipal Manager Mpho Mojaki stated that the majority councillors were “violently denied access” and were prevented from carrying out their political mandate as democratically elected members of council.
“The escalated state of chaos and anarchy should not be left unabated. This will be tantamount to political disenfranchisement and a direct assault on democracy.”
He pointed out that ten councillors out of a total of 19 councillors by way of a council resolution, terminated the contract of the Acting Municipal mManager Busiswe Mgaguli on December 13 although she unlawfully continued to hold this position.
“She has advertised several vacant positions and tenders at Phokwane Municipality without the authority to do so.”
He added that the same majority councillors resolved to remove the Speaker, Portia Selogilwe and the Mayor, Tebogo Afrika.
“They appointed Gotsemodimo Halter as the new Speaker and Olebogeng Tumodi as the Mayor.”
On December 28 Afrika refused to return the mayoral vehicle upon written request of Mojaki.
“This placed the asset of the municipality in a risky situation in that the erstwhile mayor retains the vehicle without authorisation, ” Mojaki added.
He pointed out that the former Speaker and Mayor were acting in “total disregard” of council.
“This is because they continue to ostensibly occupy their erstwhile positions despite the lawful resolutions of council to remove them.”
Mojaki indicated that on January 4, Afrika brought “a strange person” to monitor the movements of the Speaker Goitsemodimo Halter along with councillors Michael Setlhogomi, Neo Pitso and himself.
“His behaviour was that of a person who was hired or solicited to deal with and intimidate us. Councillors reported that individual to the police authority and he was questioned on his actions and released.”
He added that Afrika was “moving around intimidating and giving employees instructions” to defy his lawful instructions.
“He wrote a communique that the incumbent Mayor (Tumodi) is not a mayor and that Halter is not the Speaker. He declared himself and Selogilwe as the Speaker. This created the impression that there are two centres of power at the municipality.”
He pointed out that this created confusion where service delivery was” suffering the most”.
“The conflicting messages by Afrika poses a great risk of polarising employees and rendering the municipality dysfunctional.”
Mojaki added that he had to hire a security company to provide protection to the targeted councillors and himself.
“This was informed by the imminent threat of violence and a bloodbath. This application was brought to avoid persistent violence and to save lives.”
He explained that after security personnel retrieved the keys of the mayoral vehicle from Afrika, “mayhem erupted” where Afrika tore his jacket pocket.
“A group of ANC members including Selogilwe, Mgaguli, tried to attack me physically but I was saved by the security officers. At this point the SAPS arrived in order to calm the situation.”
Mojaki added that they were locked inside the municipal building together with some police officers.
“We had to break the security door to get out of the building. The actions of the officials can best be described as intimidating, malicious and total disregard for our democracy and the will of the people.”
He highlighted how the majority councillors and general public were at risk of “imminent violence and threat to life”.
Advocate Phazha Jimmy Ngandwe and Advocate Keneilwe Lefaladi represented the majority councillors.
It was indicated that the counsel for Selogilwe, Afrika, Mgaguli and the ANC management and members was “unknown”.
Judgment was handed down by Judge Sibongile Nxumalo.