“At the core of these developments are party-political contradictions that are affecting both the administrative and political functioning of the municipality”
PHOKWANE Municipality has once more been plunged into upheaval, where it has two mayors and two Speakers – all of whom will be expecting their salaries at the end of the month.
It has been indicated that both sets of mayors and Speakers have insisted that none of them intend vacating their posts and are reporting to their respective offices.
The Gauteng High Court last week granted an interdict to prevent by-elections from going ahead in ward 1 and 7 to replace the expelled mayor, Crocket Adams, and expelled Speaker, Kgomotsego Mokale.
The application ordered the reinstatement of Adams and Mokale into their positions and as ANC members, pending the finalisation of their appeal to the ANC disciplinary committee.
This is while the current mayor, Keamogetse Mothibi, and Speaker, Francis Molola, are also refusing to step down.
Community members are planning a protest march, where they indicated that the municipality was still under administration and could ill afford funding the salaries of officials occupying the same positions.
“We are back to square one where service delivery is suffering because of warring factions. The municipality is struggling to pay its debts to Eskom and the water boards, let alone pay two mayors and two Speakers.”
Ward 7 ANC branch members complained to the party’s provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, in December that they had not been consulted about the ANC candidate that was elected to contest the by-elections.
The ward was contested by independent candidate Mzwandile Thethani, Remaketse Portia Selogilwe representing the ANC and Marvin Thabonyana van Wyk of the EFF.
Ward 1 was contested by Ndoisele Richard Nxamashe from the ANC and Motlhabane Soul Moremi from the EFF.
The spokesperson for Phokwane Municipality, Kgalalelo Letshabo, said yesterday that the administrator, Bamba Ndwandwe, was currently taking legal counsel on the matter to prevent fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
‘While the court order had reinstated councillors Adams and Mokale, as mayor and Speaker respectively, the court order had made no pronouncement on the status of the current mayor and Speaker (Mothibi and Molola). This has resulted in the municipality having two mayors and two Speakers. There is no provision in law for this set-up,” said Letshabo.
The spokesperson for the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Xhanti Teki, stated that the recent developments in Phokwane Municipality had arisen as a result of “party-political dynamics”.
“At the core of these developments are party-political contradictions that are affecting both the administrative and political functioning of the municipality,” said Teki.
He indicated that Coghsta was not party to the court case or the appeal proceedings.
“The administrator of Phokwane Municipality is taking legal counsel as the court order served to reinstate Adams and Mokale both as councillors as well as mayor and Speaker respectively, but did not make any ruling on the incumbent mayor and Speaker.”
Teki added that the minister had agreed that the term of the appointment of the administrator at Phokwane Municipality should continue “until all issues are addressed”.
“The administrator has advertised posts for senior managers that should be filled by the beginning of next month. The municipality has also submitted the outstanding annual financial statements for the 2017/18 year and the auditor-general is busy with auditing processes. The municipality also approved its 2019/20 budget.”
The spokesperson for the ANC Frances Baard region, Tshepo Louw, said they were unable to comment on the matter until internal processes had been finalised.
“We will update the community at a later stage. We are steadfast that the rightful mayor is Mothibi and the Speaker is Molola.”
Louw was unable to confirm whether meetings with the ANC National Executive Committee had been held yesterday to discuss this matter or whether an appeal had been filed against the decision of the Gauteng High Court.
Ngxanga had previously maintained that Adams and Mokale should have first appealed to the provincial disciplinary committee and that a letter from ANC general-secretary Ace Magashule should be placed on review.
Magashule suspended the expulsions pending an appeal to the national disciplinary committee.
Magashule had agreed that the appeal could be lodged with the national disciplinary committee after the expelled members had expressed the view that the provincial disciplinary committee was “biased against them because of politics in the Province”, where they would not receive a fair hearing.
The ANC ordered Adams and Mokale to step down after they were elected by way of a majority vote in August last year and were expelled from the party in October on charges of “defiance”.
Their appointments were contrary to an ANC mandate to appoint Mothibi as mayor and Molola as Speaker, to replace the former expelled mayor, Sentse Kalman, and Speaker, Horatious Modiakgotla, who also refused to step down from their positions.
Several council meetings that were arranged to elect Mothibi and Molola were postponed or disrupted last year, where no quorum could be reached.
The ANC regional disciplinary committee found Kalman and Modiakgotla guilty of undermining a decision by the ANC caucus and of collaborating with the opposition in council in April 2019.
Kalman and Modiakgotla had also requested Magashule to intervene, after a court order prevented them from entering the municipal offices in July 2019 when they lost their appeals against their expulsion from the ANC for “undermining the decisions of the ANC caucus, collaborating with the opposition in council and dividing the ANC in the sub-region”.
Should Mothibi and Molola – who were appointed in December as mayor and Speaker respectively – step down, they will remain ordinary councillors.