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Mabilo is new mayor

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The city has another a new mayor, Patrick Mabilo, who was elected during a special council meeting.

Patrick Mabilo accepted the position of Sol Plaatje executive mayor during a council meeting yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE CITY has another new mayor, Patrick Mabilo, who was elected as Sol Plaatje executive mayor during a special council meeting yesterday, although the item was not on the agenda.

Mabilo rose to the podium to deliver his maiden address as mayor, with a prepared speech that was already typed up, after he was elected unopposed following a staged walkout by the DA.

The EFF also left the chambers when the voting took place and later returned.

This follows after the Northern Cape High Court dismissed an application by nine expelled ANC councillors to be reinstated at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

The former mayor, Pula Thabane, had to vacate his post as he is one of the expelled councillors, while the names of the expelled councillors were already removed from the attendance register yesterday morning.

DA chief whip Christopher Phiri requested that the court verdicts regarding the Section 106 investigation report on Sol Plaatje Municipality, as well as the interdict against the nine ANC councillors’ removal, be presented to council.

“Council has no knowledge of the resignation or removal of the mayor,” said Phiri.

He added that while nine vacancies had been declared, there was no documentation relating to the two proportional representation (PR) councillors.

The meeting was convened to discuss the Section 106 investigation report into matters at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

The majority of councillors decided that the report be put in abeyance, pending the outcome of Sol Plaatje chief financial officer Lydia Mahloko’s court application to interdict implementing any of the findings or recommendations.

ANC councillor Ronnie Morwe added that council had only been presented with a summary of the Section 106 report.

“It was resolved that a special council meeting should take place to examine the comprehensive, detailed report as well as the missing pages.”

Acting Speaker Benjamin Springbok said the two PR councillors would be announced at the next council meeting, while the seven ward councillors would be replaced when by-elections take place in February next year.

EFF councillor IM Pholoholo advised council to stick to the items on the agenda, while EFF councillor Sandra Doyle believed that council was being turned into a “Mickey Mouse” body.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for only realising today that you are in a crisis,” Pholoholo told ANC councillors.

During the council meeting the general manager of revenue management, Andries Klopper, stated that municipal debt had increased to R300 million due to bad and irrecoverable debts.

Despite rumours of a possible city-wide protest due to the unhappiness that the expelled councillors would not be returning, community members believed that the city could not afford another shutdown.

The expelled councillors were locked in meetings late yesterday afternoon to discuss the way forward.

The chairperson of Wanya Tsotsi, Pantsi Obusitse, was disappointed that the councillors “who had stood up for the community and against corruption” had been silenced.

One of the expelled councillors, Pius Tshite, stated that the councillors never regretted their actions.

“It has never been about getting a salary but about standing up for what is right and representing the community. I will not hesitate to do it again,” said Tshite.