Potchefstroom - For the third time in less than 15 months, Tlokwe local municipality in Potchefstroom, North West, has a new mayor.
The ANC has announced Kgotso Khumalo – a former MP, acting sports and cultural development head of department, adviser to the premier and government spokesman – as the new mayor.
Bertus le Roux, a DA councillor, tweeted early yesterday: “A new record? From newly-inaugurated #Tlokwe councillor to executive mayor in 5 min: Khotso Khumalo.”
But Khumalo’s term looks likely to be shortlived.
The ANC and the Independent Electoral Commission in the municipality are faced with a court action in the Electoral Court, where former councillors who stood as independent candidates in the past two by-elections were challenging the outcomes.
The independent candidates, who have filed papers, claim that the results were rigged. The case is due in court next month.
The battle for mayor began in November 2012, when ANC councillors teamed up with the DA to vote former mayor Maphetlhe Maphetlhe out of office. Their motion of no confidence succeeded, and he was replaced by the DA’s Professor Annette Combrink.
The ANC then made several attempts to reverse Combrink’s appointment – including firing those who voted with the DA.
When their legal battles to remove Combrink failed in the Pretoria High Court, the ANC deployed Maphetlhe to the North West government. He was appointed executive manager of co-operative services. The party, however, fought hard to regain its majority in the council.
Two by-elections were held in September and last month, but it was only in the latter that the party managed to controversially regain its majority in the council, which allowed it to appoint a new mayor. After the confirmation of the controversial results, Elias Mogoemang was temporarily elected to the post for just over a month.
But yesterday, the baton changed hands yet again.
The ANC’s provincial spokesman Ishmael Mnisi said Khumalo was a “tried and tested” member of the party, but the DA says he is unqualified for the job.
“He’s a local comrade from Tlokwe,” Mnisi said. “We wanted someone who understands and is part of the Kenneth Kaunda district”, within which the Tlokwe local municipality falls.
Mnisi said Khumalo was one of three candidates the party had considered for the position of mayor.
The others were regional chairman Itumeleng Mosala and Ntombi Koloti, an ANC Youth League co-ordinator in the province and MMC for economic development and tourism.
The DA’s North West leader, Chris Hattingh, said Khumalo’s CV showed that he “doesn’t really fit in anywhere”.