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MEC for only nine hours

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Copy of st Ontlametse Mochware 1

THE STAR

Ontlametse Mochware was sworn in as MEC for social development in the North West legislature on Tuesday, but had to quit. Picture: Otsile Tlape

Johannesburg - Ontlametse Mochware made history this week.

The former mayor of Kagisano Molopo local municipality in Ganyesa, North West, became the first person in the country to become a provincial MEC and “resign” after less than nine hours in office.

She was still mayor on Friday before being summoned to Mahikeng to take up the post as a member of the provincial legislature.

Mochware was not on the initial list of North West ANC candidates approved by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for the legislature.

Those on the valid IEC list – including new Premier Supra Mahumapelo – were sworn in by North West Judge President Monica Leeuw last week.

But, despite the irregularity, Mochware was sworn in on Friday by Susan Dantjie, speaker of the North West legislature.

On Tuesday, she was sworn in as MEC for social development but “resigned” voluntarily.

On Wednesday, ANC provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said the resignation happened as a “consequence of a legal technicality in order to totally comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act”.

But ANC insiders said their senior officials, including Mahumapelo, were caught out in their bid to “fraudulently” bypass the act.

“She was sworn in as a member of the legislature in secret. We were not aware of it,” said one of the insiders.

The vacancy in the legislature was created when former premier Thandi Modise was elected chairwoman of the National Council of Provinces.

According to the act, Modise was supposed to be replaced by the 24th person on their candidate list of 33 people. The ANC had secured 23 seats in the legislature.

Various ANC members said Mochware’s appointment was aimed at preventing the return of the legislature’s former finance watchdog head, Hlomane Chauke, who is 24th on the list.

During his tenure as chairman of the legislature’s standing committee on public accounts, Chauke was instrumental in exposing various mining houses for failing to pay millions in royalties to local communities where they were mining.

The standing committee also played a role in the expulsion of two MECs for corruption.

 

North West ANC spokesman Oupa Matla denied the allegations.

baldwin.ndaba@inl.co.za

The Star


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