Dramatic day at Tshwane council

RAPULA MOATSHE rapula.moatshe@inl.co.za



African News Agency



A SPECIAL council sitting to elect a new mayor in Tshwane got off to a dramatic start yesterday with breaking news that Actionsa fired its two councillors. The two councillors, Mandla Mhlana and Mpho Baloyi, were found to have betrayed their party mandate by voting for former Cope councillor Dr Murunwa Makwarela as mayor instead of DA caucus leader Cilliers Brink over a week ago. Makwarela stepped down on March 10 after it was found that he submitted a fake insolvency rehabilitation certificate to city manager Johann Mettler in an attempt to be reinstated as mayor after he was disqualified as a councillor following news that Gauteng High Court, Pretoria declared him insolvent in 2016. In addition to the council’s eventful day, Cope, which yesterday morning introduced Makwarela’s replacement, Justice Thabang Sefanyetso, decided to recall the same councillor just minutes after his presence was announced by Speaker Ncedi Ndzwanana. Actionsa chief whip, Kgosietsile Kgosiemang, questioned the legitimacy of his party councillors in the meeting despite that they were being expelled. He said he believed Ndzwanana was contravening the Municipal Structures Act by not declaring vacancies of council seats after councillors were kicked out by their parties. DA caucus leader Brink warned the speaker that the council risked the legitimacy of the election outcome by allowing the councillors in question to take part in the proceedings. Ndzwanana, however, refused to entertain the issue on the grounds that he had not received an official communication regarding the expulsion. “The city manager has not declared any vacancy. I am waiting for the city manager to deal with this,” he said. In a media statement, Actionsa said the termination of the membership of its two councillors arose directly from an investigation that they voted for Makwarela on February 28. Baloyi was found to have provided the EFF with directions to the polygraph test conducted by the party in Midrand. EFF members disrupted the test, but Actionsa said Baloyi was partially responsible for the disruption that occurred on that day. “The investigation did not solely rely on polygraph tests. Having said this, these two councillors failed tests on two separate occasions on both questions of voting giants the coalition and being offered bribes for doing so,” the party said. This week, Actionsa provincial chairperson Funzi Ngobeni opened a criminal case at Olievenhoutbosch Police Station against councillors who tried to bribe his party councillors to vote in favour of Makwarela. On the other hand, Cope in Gauteng said it evaluated all prospective candidates for the vacant PR seat in Tshwane in line with its constitution prior to submitting the list to the Independent Electoral Commission. “The vetting processes revealed that Mr Justice Thabang Sefanyetso, who was submitted to the IEC list by the Tshwane region, is in possession of two IDS and also has a criminal record,” the party said. Cope said in a media statement that it was “discovered that the disgraced Dr Makwarela has been calling coalition partners in Tshwane, requesting them to accept and support Mr Justice Thabang Sefanyetso as the Cope PR candidate and mayoral candidate”. “Mr Justice Thabang Sefanyetso has been withdrawn with immediate effect from the IEC list, and his Cope membership has also been suspended with immediate effect pending his appearance before the disciplinary committee,” the party said. It further said Sefanyetso’s matter would be referred to SAPS for further investigation.