TSHWANE - Newly-elected Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa on Thursday said he has extended an olive branch to opposition parties - particularly the ANC and the EFF - to put aside political party differences and work together for the betterment of the capital city's residents.
"If you recall, in my acceptance speech I reached out to the opposition. I said I have 19 years in opposition, so I understand the role of opposition [parties]. I have implored on the opposition parties to do their due diligence and ensure that they provide constructive criticism and also provide constructive solutions. In the main, it's about the people of Tshwane," Mokgalapa told journalists in Pretoria.
"The beauty of local government is that it has capacity to transcend beyond political parties. All our constituencies want basic services. There is no blue, yellow or red water ... all our constituencies want access to clean water."
In his maiden speech in council last week, Mokgalapa said he would continue to reach out to opposition parties in the Tshwane Council.
"I have already reached out to the opposition parties. I have met with them. I've already met with our former coalition partners, and I've met with the leadership of the opposition parties in Council. It is very important that we collaborate and we work together. I have reached out to them."
The Democratic Alliance’s Stevens Mokgalapa was last week elected new Mayor of Tshwane, after he was the only nominated member for the vacant post in the Tshwane Council.
The post was vacated by Solly Msimanga at the end of January.
Only the DA nominated a candidate – with the African National Congress indicating that it was not taking part in the election. The Economic Freedom Fighters didn’t nominate a candidate either.
Msimanga resigned from the Tshwane top post, saying he wanted to focus on his ongoing campaign to become Gauteng Premier.
The ANC in Tshwane last week wished Mokgalapa well, saying his term would be tough owing to the mismanagement of previous mayor Solly Msimanga.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that such a decent, liberal gentleman Stevens Mokgalapa has to inherit unfortunately mayhem in this city, caused by his predecessor [Solly Msimanga] the poster boy of corruption. You are inheriting R5 billion in unauthorized expenditure. There is nothing decent that you are inheriting,” ANC Tshwane regional chairperson Kgosi Maepa told the special council meeting shortly after Mokgalapa’s election.
“In fact, you are inheriting a broken vehicle. With no wheels, no parts, no spare wheel, no windscreen. Brace yourself for a rough ride. You have invited the ANC [to work with you] but I don’t think you understand what you are inviting. We were wishing that perhaps you would talk about the terrible pernicious situation in our city … we don’t have lights in this city, robots don’t work, we have the sewer systems blockages. Your predecessor failed terribly to reach out to the people, to resolve their problems.”
EFF Tshwane regional chairperson Moafrika Mabongwana cautioned Mokgalapa to stay on the straight and narrow, respecting the will of the people of Tshwane.
“We want to send a stern warning that you must not appoint a mayoral committee of lazy people. You must not use your position to terrorize officials who differ with you. You must at all times act in the interests of the people of Tshwane, above your own interests,” said Mabongwana to applause from the EFF benches.
African News Agency (ANA)