Emfuleni mayor Simon Mofokeng Picture: Twitter
Johannesburg - ANC Gauteng chaiman Paul Mashatile allegedly ordered the Emfuleni local municipality to halt the appointment of the successor to under-fire mayor Simon Mofokeng this week.

The Sunday Independent has reliably learnt that Emfuleni council was scheduled to hold a meeting on Thursday to appoint deputy ANC Sedibeng regional chairperson Robert Thema as acting mayor, after Mofokeng was put on special leave over an alleged sexual scandal involving a 14-year-old girl.

However, the meeting was apparently canned without any explanation, according to DA caucus leader Dady Mollo.

He said councillors were not given reasons for the postponement but were told to hold on until further notice.

Mashatile, who is also Gauteng cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC, apparently instructed Emfuleni speaker Maipato Tsokolibane to postpone the meeting at which Thema was to be elected. Thema is a member of the mayoral committee for finance.

READ MORE: SACP, DA urge ANC to axe 'sex pest'

Mashatile’s spokesperson, Keith Khoza, said the meeting had been postponed because of the need to consult structures before Mofokeng’s matter was finalised.

Mofokeng was placed on special leave following the intervention of the ANC’s integrity commission, Khoza said.

The ANC's top five officials in Gauteng placed mayor Mofokeng, who is also the ruling party’s Sedibeng regional chairman, on special leave this week after he sent a picture of a semi-naked 14-year-old he was allegedly grooming for sex to a WhatsAPP group of ANC leaders named “Festival of Ideas”.

The girl was a friend of Mofo- keng’s grandson who committed suicide in September after being taunted at school over his grandfather’s alleged shenanigans. Mofokeng allegedly exchanged nude pictures with the teenager and bought her airtime.

ANC sources in Sedibeng said the matter needed to be handled delicately as the Mofokeng-led regional executive committee was backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential bid.

An ANC Youth League regional leader who cannot be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said Mofokeng should be axed as both mayor and chairman, adding that the ANC could not risk a backlash in the 2019 elections.

The youth league in Sedibeng wants the ANC's provincial execu- tive committee to deal decisively with Mofokeng for his “moral bankruptcy”.

”We call upon Mofokeng to immediately relinquish his position as both the mayor and chairman of the ANC in Sedibeng,” the league said.

The league in Sedibeng is backing former AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace President Jacob Zuma at the ANC's national elective conference next month.

Mollo said the DA would push for a second motion of no confidence in Mofokeng.

Earlier this year, the DA failed in its bid to oust Mofokeng following revelations that he spent R1.1million between 2011 and 2015 on fast food and hotel bills when he was Sedibeng district municipality mayor. 

He spent another R629 000 between November 2015 and April 2017.

Sunday Independent