High court sets aside removal of Tshwane mayor, speaker

Pretoria – The North Gauteng High, Pretoria, on Friday set aside resolutions by the Tshwane council to remove Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and Council Speaker Katlego Mathebe from their positions.

The DA had sought an urgent interdict to set aside the implementation of council’s resolutions taken during a special council sitting on Thursday afternoon.

The court didn’t hear the merits of the application, which are scheduled to be heard on December 17.

Both Mokgalapa and Mathebe were removed during the special council sitting which was convened amid chaos. The chaos erupted when ANC and EFF councillors blocked the acting Speaker Zweli Khumalo from taking over from Mathebe, who had recused herself from the sitting, citing a conflict of interest.

The motion of no confidence was against her, and she believed she could not preside over the sitting herself as she was conflicted.

The high court ruling follows the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lebogang Maile’s announcement that the Gauteng provincial government had placed the City of Tshwane under administration.

Maile said the move was in line with Section 139 read with Section 154 of the Constitution.

The legislation empowered the provincial government to take charge of administration of municipalities which showed signs of poor service delivery and maladministration.

Maile said the intervention was necessitated by disappointing service delivery mostly in region 5  and 7 of the city.

"The City of Tshwane has been affected by serious service delivery challenges particularly in Region 5 and 7. The most affected areas are the ones that were historically part of the North West and Mpumalanga provinces," he said.

Maile, however, believed Mathebe still needed to explain why she recused herself from council sitting.

He said should her explanation found to be insufficient department might approach the courts to seek relief against the Speaker’ s decision "to avoid setting a bad precedent which other Speakers may follow in the future."

Mokgalapa was recently embroiled in an alleged sex scandal, implicating him and the former Roads and Transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge, who eventually resigned.

Pretoria News

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