Pretoria - Members of parties in the multi-party coalition in Tshwane suspected of having voted for Dr Murunwa Makwarela to become mayor are at risk of being booted out of their political parties.
This was the warning from the coalition partners amid allegations implicated councillors might have received kickbacks to vote against their party mandates.
Coalition partners, that include the ACDP, IFP, ActionSA and Freedom Front Plus, took the tough stance against “rogue” councillors after their mayoral candidate and former DA MP Cilliers Brink lost out to Makwarela, who was supported by the ANC and EFF.
One hundred and one councillors cast their ballots in favour of Brink, while Makwarela secured 112 votes.
Makwarela’s victory came in the wake of a political fallout with the coalition partners, who last week threatened to oust him from his previous position as speaker after he refused to convene an urgent council sitting to elect a new mayor before February 28.
His former coalition partners were concerned the election of a new mayor on February 28 meant the City would not pass the adjustment budget, as the legislated deadline was the same day.
Amid the public spat, Makwarela said he remained indifferent to the accusations against him, dismissing them as untrue.
He said he received a petition with 107 signatures for him to call a council meeting, instead of 108 signatures required.
The parties aligned with the multi-party coalition said they undertook to identify councillors “who sold out the residents of Tshwane and the coalition”. “These councillors will be removed and replaced with urgency ahead of a motion of no confidence that will be tabled to remove Makwarela from his ill-gotten office.”
Parties insinuated the implicated councillors received kickbacks to support Makwarela’s mayorship.
“The election of mayors and speakers under the secret ballot required in legislation has created a culture of bribery in municipal councils. This coalition condemns, in the harshest terms, those councillors who accept election on the back of the party's campaigning for change, only to assist the ANC and EFF to get elected against the will of the residents of Tshwane,” they said in a statement.
ActionSA Gauteng leader Bongani Baloyi said the coalition bloc was disappointed in the manner the election results turned out, given it continued to hold the majority of council seats at 108.
He expressed disappointment that a number of coalition members decided to “go rogue” and voted for the new mayor.
“The coalition is still intact; we just need to regroup and determine a way forward,” he said, adding the “rogue” councillors must be identified through a particular process.
The sentiment was shared by Brink, who said: “If you look at the numbers, we should have had 108 (but) we had 101, which means there are seven traitors.
“Our mission is going to be to identify the traitors; to eliminate them; to come back and to fight. So the puppet mayor who is being installed in this chair is going to be pulled hither and thither in the next few days. He mustn’t become too comfortable because we are coming for him; we are coming back and we are going to take that position.”
Coalition partners expressed confidence they would win the speaker’s position, which became vacant after Makwarela was elected mayor.
DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga said: “In a month’s time we will be installing a speaker and we will make sure that there is a mayor who will be accountable to the people and not an individual representing their own jacket.”
FF Plus caucus leader Grandi Theunissen warned Makwarela’s days in office were numbered.
“I can tell you today that this will be a short-lived victory,” he said, adding his new political allies would soon turn their backs on him and “it will be the end of your political career going forward”.