Pretoria - Cope’s sole councillor in Tshwane, Dr Murunwa Makwarela, has been reinstated as mayor.
On Tuesday, Makwarela was disqualified by city manager Johann Mettler as a councillor after it surfaced that in 2016 the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria declared him insolvent.
His return to office comes after he submitted a certificate of solvency rehabilitation to Mettler in keeping with a promise he made this week.
The declaration of his insolvency status by a court of law meant he was ineligible to hold a public office as a councillor in terms of Section 158(1) of the Constitution.
He was under pressure to produce an evidence certificate of solvency rehabilitation to demonstrate he was not an unrehabilitated insolvent and was eligible to occupy a public office.
In an email, seen by the Pretoria News, Mettler wrote to Makwarela: “Please note that I have informed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of the receipt of your notice of rehabilitation as received this morning (yesterday). I have also informed the IEC that the declaration of vacancy is withdrawn. The IEC informed that it will process accordingly as they are still within the 21 day time limit. Your security detail will be reinstated forthwith. Please indicate when you will be ready to be collected at your residence to resume duties as executive mayor.”
Municipal spokesperson Selby Bokaba said Mettler has received a certificate of solvency rehabilitation from Makwarela on March 9.
Bokaba said Mettler informed the Gauteng provincial electoral officer of the IEC to immediately withdraw the declaration of a vacancy for Cope’s PR Councillor.
“The IEC has confirmed receipt of a letter from the city manager for the withdrawal of the vacancy declaration and undertook to process it accordingly, as they are still within the 21-day time limit,” he said.
He said the latest development meant all the benefits and perks accorded to Makwarela as the executive mayor had been reinstated.
“On Tuesday, March 7 2023, the city manager wrote to the Gauteng provincial electoral officer informing him of a casual vacancy which had occurred at the city following the disqualification of the Cope PR councillor, Makwarela. The disqualification was in terms of Section 158 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, also read with Section 47 (1) (c) of the Constitution. Furthermore, the disqualification was also in terms of Schedule 1 Section 19 (c) (d) of the Municipal Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998),” Bokaba said.
Earlier in the week, Makwarela had threatened to take legal action against Mettler should he fail to withdraw a media statement regarding a decision to get rid of him as councillor.
Mettler was given yesterday’s deadline to comply with Makwarela’s demand to nullify his removal.
The EFF and ANC in Tshwane had expressed concern about the conduct of the city manager in announcing Makwarela’s exit from office.
The parties supported Makwarela’s ascension to the mayoral position during the election on February 28 at Tshwane House, where he won by 112 votes, against former DA MP Cilliers Brink’s 101 votes.
The DA said failure by Makwarela to disclose his insolvency status meant he misled the public by accepting nomination as speaker of the council and later as mayor of Tshwane.