South Africa - Pretoria - 21 February 2019. Executive mayor of Tshwane, Stevens Mokgalapa during the announcement of the new Mayoral Committee at Tshwane House in Pretoria. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA
Pretoria Stevens Mokgalapa yesterday said he had 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 had 19 years in opposition, so I understand the role of opposition (parties).

“I have implored 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 said 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 met them. I've already met our former coalition partners, and I've met the leadership of the opposition parties in council.

“It is very important that we collaborate and work together. I have reached out to them.”

Mokgalapa was last week elected new mayor of Tshwane, after he was the only nominated member for the vacant post in the council.

The post was left vacant by Solly Msimanga at the end of last month.

Only the DA nominated a candidate - with the ANC indicating that it was not taking part in the election.

The EFF 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 last week wished Mokgalapa well, saying his term would be tough owing to mismanagement by 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 R5billion in unauthorised expenditure. There is nothing decent that you are inheriting,” ANC Tshwane regional chairperson Dr 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 terrorise 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.