Johannesburg - A rowdy clash involving the mayor and municipal manager of Limpopo’s Mogalakwena municipality continues - at the public’s expense.
Mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite and manager William Kekana recently appointed bodyguards to protect themselves against one another.
Claiming their lives were in danger, the two officials of the ANC-controlled municipality in Mokopane want the council to pay for services provided by their personal protectors.
This is in addition to 24-hour security provided by the municipality at their homes.
Last week, Kekana was prevented from entering the council premises by the mayor’s bodyguards.
A clash ensued, with Kekana’s protectors and a group of community members sympathetic to him wrestling with Mashamaite’s “private army” so that Kekana could enter the premises.
At the centre of the conflict is the municipal manager’s disputed employment contract.
Kekana’s contract was controversially renewed for five years by the previous council whose term ended in 2011.
The contractual dispute saw Kekana being suspended in July pending the resolution of the matter, but a group of 24 ANC councillors voted with opposition members to reinstate him.
That resolution was made an order of court in October, and Kekana returned to office. But the mayor, chief whip David Langa and a faction of ANC councillors disputing Kekana’s contract had boycotted October’s council sitting that reinstated Kekana.
This led to legal action challenging the ruling.
On December 13, High Court Judge Jody Kollapen declared Kekana’s contract invalid and said the council’s October resolution to reinstate him was unlawful.
The council is now to appeal the judge’s ruling.