Impasse over Vryburg mayor
Johannesburg - The ANC faction in the Dr Ruth Mompati District Municipality in Vryburg, North West has vowed to defy a High Court order to reinstate its executive mayor, Boitumelo Mahlangu, after she was placed on special leave last month.
It is understood that the Speaker, Lerato Maogwe, has called for an urgent council meeting to discuss the outcome of the court ruling.
Maogwe told the media last week that the acting Municipal Mayor Kgalalelo Sereko would continue in her position until a full council meeting had sat to discuss the ruling.
Mahlangu was placed on special leave on July 19 at a full council meeting, following fierce battles within the ANC in the District Council between those linked to former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and those against him.
She approached the North West High Court on an urgent basis last week arguing that her placement on special leave was irregular and unlawful.
Judge Festus Gura agreed and told Maogwe that the resolution of the Municipal Council to place Mahlangu on special leave for 30 days was unlawful and void and that Mahlangu was permitted to return to her post as mayor to fulfil her duties.
However, Judge Gura dismissed Mahlangu’s application to interdict a proposed motion of no confidence against her.
The municipality was ordered to pay Mahlangu’s legal costs.
It is understood Mahlangu was placed on special leave after she told the council that the municipality did not follow proper legal procedures in placing its municipal manager Jerry Mononela on suspension on March 28 this year.
Mononela was placed on suspension after the District Municipality invested R150 million with the controversial VBS Bank, but the Great Heist Bank forensic report indicated that the municipality only invested R101 million with the venture.
This prompted the council to appoint a forensic company to probe the missing R49m.
The mayor was exonerated of involvement in the decision to invest with VBS and the council only chose to pursue Mononela and former chief financial officer Segomotso Phatudi.
It is believed the trouble began after acting municipal manager Mpho Mothibi appointed a law firm, Sifumba Attorneys to conduct disciplinary processes against Mononela.
Tensions between the factions grew after Mononela returned to work last month, also arguing that his suspension was unlawful.
He also questioned the appointment of the law firm which was supposed to conduct a disciplinary hearing.
As a result, municipal staff raised concerns about who to report to as the council now had two municipal managers. Staff wrote a letter to Mahlangu and the Speaker, Lerato Maogwe on July 15 questioning the status of the two municipal managers.
In it they said it was prompted by the fact that the prevailing situation had a direct bearing on the provision of service delivery to communities.