Pretoria - Tshwane Council speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana has been asked by the Gauteng acting MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Faith Mazibuko, to provide a comprehensive report as to why the municipal council has not yet elected an executive mayor.
This comes after Ndzwanana on Wednesday adjourned a special council meeting “until further notice” to allow him time to seek legal advice regarding the removal of Cope’s sole councillor, Justice Sefanyetso, from council.
Sefanyetso’s deployment in council attracted controversy after he was accused of having two IDs and a criminal record, leading to his recall from council minutes after he was introduced as new councillor to replace Dr Murunwa Makwarela.
Makwarela, who was elected as Tshwane mayor on February 28, subsequently resigned under a cloud after it emerged that he furnished a fake insolvency certificate to be reinstated as mayor after he was disqualified as a councillor.
A faction aligned to Cope deputy president Willie Madisha vowed to challenge in court Sefanyetso’s removal.
The faction accused Cope president Mosioua Lekota of being behind a move to install Sefanyetso as councillor.
Mazibuko said Ndzwanana must respond within three days of receipt of her request, prompted by the adjournment of the council meeting that was convened on Wednesday to elect an executive mayor.
She said she viewed the state of affairs in the city in a very serious light.
“It means that the city remains without a mayor and is seized with a vacuum of executive leadership. The perpetual failure to elect an executive mayor places the integrity and governance of the municipality in peril,” she said.
According to her, the political developments in Tshwane have “far-reaching ramifications on the stability of the municipality”.
She further appealed to all councillors to put the interests of the residents of Tshwane first, and take the necessary steps to elect an executive mayor expeditiously.
Mazibuko’s request was made after Ndzwanana yesterday failed to accede to demands by the multiparty coalition bloc to reconvene a special council yesterday for the purpose of electing a mayor.
This was because he was still seeking legal advice on the validity of two separate letters that spoke to Sefanyetso’s withdrawal as councillor.
The letters in question were seemingly signed by Lekota and Joburg Cope councillor Colleen Makhubele, who both conveyed a message about Sefanyetso’s removal.
On the other hand, the multiparty coalition has threatened to approach the courts and seek relief on what it termed an unlawful cancellation of council’s meeting.
The coalition had given Ndzwanana an ultimatum to reconvene the council sitting yesterday at 10am, adding that: “Should this not be adhered to, further steps will be pursued in terms of Section 29 of the Municipal Structures Act and approaching the courts if necessary”.
Yesterday, DA caucus leader in Tshwane, Cilliers Brink said: “Attorneys for the DA and our coalition partners have written to the ANC-EFF puppet speaker of Tshwane to demand that he resume the council meeting to elect an executive mayor to serve and reassure the residents of the city.”
He vowed that the coalition would not stop fighting for stable, accountable government in Tshwane, even as the Gauteng ANC-EFF coalition tries everything in their power to make the city ungovernable, with residents as collateral.
“We will also resist any effort by the ANC premier of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi to create conditions for the city to be placed under administration,” Brink said.
He said the issue of who was to fill Cope’s vacancy was simple.
“The speaker can merely consult the IEC to determine who the next person is on the list,” he said.
He said the real reason the speaker obstructed the progress of the meeting was that the ANC-EFF coalition does not have the numbers to elect an executive mayor.