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ANC to give up Tlokwe mayor seat – for now

Ousted ANC Mayor Maphetle Maphetle is expected to hand over the reins to Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Anne Combrick, the legitimate mayor of Tlokwe municipality on Wednesday afternoon. Following the judgment on Monday, Maphetle defied the ruling and continued to occupy his seat as mayor.

"We want to show that we are not a bitter party. The DA can have the seat, but within 48 days Maphetle will be back in his seat," said ANC North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo. The ANC is adamant that the upcoming by-elections on August 7 and September 18 2013 will see them being voted back into power.

DA's North West leader Chris Hattingh said they were waiting for a written withdrawal from the ANC to ensure that they vacate as promised this time. "Until we get that formal document in the next few hours or so, we will believe it when we see it," said Hattingh.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Maphetle and council speaker Barei Segotso's were scheduled to appear against the DA at the North Gauteng High Court. Their legal team appealed Judge Neil Tuchten's decision on Monday to have Maphetle and his executive committee vacate the Tlokwe municipality offices by 10am on Tuesday.

Mahumapelo said there was a last minute decision to withdraw the appeal as they had no faith in the judge ruling in their favour. "The attitude of the judge the last time we were in court has been very political. He was not interested in the law so there was no way he would have ruled in our favour," he accused Tuchten.

Court order
​Tuchten ordered that Combrink be re-instated as the mayor of Tlokwe after he declared the council meeting where Maphetle was expelled as being lawful. The ANC had applied to the court earlier in July to have this meeting nullified, claiming that the meeting was cancelled and that a quorum was not reached within the stipulated 15 minutes.

The said meeting occurred on July 2, where 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.

Tuchten stated clearly that although the rules of order state that for every council meeting a quorum has to be reached within 15 minutes, there is some flexibility for present councillors to decide to wait longer. He did not find the fact they waited unlawful, which became part of the basis for his judgment to overrule the ANC.

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.

The ANC will hold a press conference on the matter later on Wednesday.

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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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