Tlokwe: Judge finds Maphetle's unseating lawful

Former Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle. (Gallo)

Former Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle. (Gallo)

Judge Neil Tuchten found on Monday that the meeting and the election of Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Annette Combrink as mayor was lawful.

He also found that Maphetle's occupation of the mayoral office was unlawful.

Combrink was on July 2 voted in as the new mayor for the second time since November – unseating Maphetle.

The application by Maphetle and Tlokwe speaker Barei Segotso sought to have the meeting at which Combrink was voted in as mayor nullified.

During the court proceedings last week, the ANC was confident it would get the meeting nullified and Maphetla reinstated. According to ANC spokesperson for the North West Kenny Morolong at the time, the ANC is still the authority in Tlokwe.

"No government can express authority unless such has been expressed by the majority of the citizens. We still have the full backing of the people of Tlokwe," said Morolong.

On July 2, 48 Tlokwe councillors sat for a meeting that had been reportedly cancelled by the speaker of the municipality.
The DA argued that not all constituencies were notified of the cancellation and since the quorum was reached, the meeting should be classified as valid.

New appointments
Twenty-six ANC councillors, including others from the opposition parties, showed a vote of no-confidence on Maphetle at the time and subsequently voted for Combrink as mayor for the second time. In a council meeting held in November 2012, the same councillors made the same decision.

A week later the North West ANC's provincial disciplinary committee expelled 14 of its councillors who voted to unseat Maphetle, and they were also removed as Tlokwe councillors. The ANC said it expelled them because they handed power to an opposition party. Six new proportional representation councillors for the municipality have since been appointed.

The core of the ANC's application was to explain why the meeting of July 2 must not be recognised, alongside Combrink’s new title as mayor of Tlokwe. During last week's hearing, the judge said the intention of the speaker cancelling the meeting, supposedly to accommodate a "non-urgent disciplinary hearing", is highly questionable. – Sapa

Khuthala Nandipha

Khuthala Nandipha

Khuthala Nandipha is a journalist for the Mail & Guardian. This involves writing about various social issues that develop and change on an hourly basis. Her interests are, in a nutshell, how South Africa and the world’s revolution affect the person on the street: “the forgotten voting citizens”, as she calls them. She loves writing, and taking photos as a way to complement her stories. She grew up on the south-east coast of East London in the Eastern Cape. She studied journalism at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. She is not new to Jo’burg, having spent the first eight years of her journalism career working for various newspapers and magazines there.
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