DA’s mayorship in City of Tshwane jinxed

Cilliers Brink

Cilliers Brink

Published Dec 28, 2023


Anyone likely to believe that the DA’s mayorship in Tshwane is somehow jinxed would be forgiven for the conviction, given the fact that since 2016 the party has constantly changed its full-time executive mayors in the metro.

This year was no different for the party as it introduced another new mayor – Cilliers Brink – after it was obviously disappointed by former mayor Randall Williams.

Randall Williams

The incumbent DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, who took over the reins after the 2016 municipal elections, served only for three years and never finished his term.

Solly Msimanga

He resigned after a frosty relationship with former city manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola.

While Msimanga could not see through his term in office, he should be credited for at least serving a longer period than his party peers.

Stevens Mokgalapa

His successor, Stevens Mokgalapa, exited office after being entangled in allegations of a sex scandal involving his former colleague in the mayoral committee, Sheila Senkubuge.

Then came Williams, who resigned in the wake of the first-ever auditor-general’s qualified audit report incurred by the metro.

Williams made a dramatic exit in February when he penned two separate letters of resignation to the then council speaker Dr Murunwa Makwarela.

In the first letter he notified Makwarela that he called it quits with effect from midnight of February 13.

He later amended his resignation date to February 28, causing confusion as to which letter would be accepted as being valid to council.

An external legal opinion sought by the City indicated that the first resignation letter was valid.

Williams was also accused of meddling in the municipal procurement processes after he allegedly instructed senior municipal officials to rubber-stamp the R26 billion unsolicited bid proposal for generating power for the city.

The instruction in question was captured in the infamous recording, in which Williams could be heard telling senior managers that the City's executive authority makes “executive decisions” and that the administration was duty-bound to implement them whether they “agree or disagree” with them.

Perhaps Williams’s departure was a way of setting the tone for a process of changing power, which turned out to be more dramatic than it was anticipated.

Sure thing that Brink must have expected to be contested for power when he was deployed from Parliament to Tshwane in February.

Dr Murunwa Makwarela

But that he would be contested by Makwarela, whose former party Cope was part of the coalition bloc, which included Brink’s DA, must have been something he never saw coming.

The worst must have been when the result of the elections went against him when Makwarela, who was labelled “Judas Iscariot” by his detractors, emerged victorious as the new executive mayor on February 28.

In an unexpected move, Makwarela had broken ranks with the coalition two days after he swore his support to Brink’s mayoral candidacy. He was backed by the ANC, the EFF and some coalition members who refused to toe their party lines.

Coalition partners DA, ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, ACDP, and IFP were against Makwarela’s ascension to power.

Councillors, especially from the DA and ActionSA, had to be subjected to a lie detector test to determine if they had indeed turned their backs on the mandate to vote for Brink.

Some ActionSA councillors were booted out of the party for following the polygraph test process.

But, Makwarela’s stay in office lasted for less than a month when it emerged that he didn’t qualify to become a councillor by virtue of being declared insolvent by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in 2016.

In terms of section 158 (1) of the Constitution he was ineligible to hold a public office as a councillor because of his insolvency status.

Following the revelation, city manager Johann Mettler announced that Makwarela was no longer a councillor, which automatically meant he had to vacate his mayoral seat.

Resolute to remain in power, Makwarela went out of his way to obtain a solvency rehabilitation certificate which subsequently came in question for its authenticity.

Two days later he furnished Mettler with the certificate in order to be reinstated as mayor.

Having cast doubt on the certificate’s validity, Tshwane multiparty coalition partners vowed to take legal steps to verify the validity of Makwarela’s clearance certificate.

Under pressure to go after it surfaced that his certificate was fraudulent, Makwarela stepped down on March 10.

His party replaced him with Ofentse Moalusi, who went on to contest for the mayoral position with Brink.

Brink secured 109 votes while Moalusi got 102, while two councillors abstained from voting.

Moalusi was last month removed as a councillor by Cope after he was accused of being part of a newly formed coalition of minority political parties called South African Rainbow Alliance together with former Joburg speaker Colleen Makhubele.

In other political theatrics that played out inside Tshwane House council chamber, the DA councillors’ votes were disqualified by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) during the election of a new council speaker.

That was after a sole African Transformation Movement councillor, Mncedi Ndzwanana, was elected new speaker with 105 votes, winning against ActionSA’s Kholofelo Morodi, who received 37 votes.

Ndzwanana was backed by the EFF and ANC, while Morodi was supported by multiparty coalition partners, which include her party, DA, FF+, ACDP and IFP.

The IEC discarded and declared the 69 votes from the DA councillors as spoiled after they used numbers instead of a cross to indicate their preferred candidate on a ballot paper.

The DA threatened to go to court to challenge the decision, but that never came to fruition and coalition partners’ attempts to table a motion of no confidence against Ndzwanana have so far been unsuccessful.

As things are in council, the coalition bloc and other political parties are divided over their support for council speaker and the mayor.

Perhaps the EFF regional leader Obakeng Ramabodu’s reaction to any attempt by the coalition partners to unseat the speaker that “they leave our speaker and we leave their mayor” better sums up the situation in council.

Pretoria News

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