ANC going to court over Potchefstroom

Potchefstroom Sign DLPThe ANC has filed papers in the High Court in Johannesburg against Potchefstroom mayor Maphetle Maphetle’s unseating, the party said on Monday.

“The speaker [Barei Mosiane], who is the speaker coming from the ANC… has actually filed the papers nullifying that meeting,” ANC North West acting secretary Gordon Kegakilwe said in Potchefstroom.

He was referring to a council meeting on Tuesday at which DA councillor Annette Combrink was voted in as mayor.

“For now, as the ANC, we don’t recognise that meeting, we don’t recognise Combrink.”

Kegakilwe was speaking at the taxi rank in Potchefstroom following an African National Congress provincial working committee (PWC) meeting in the town.

He, ANC North West chairman Supra Mahumapelo, and national executive committee deployee and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti were doing a walkabout at the taxi rank.

Combrink was voted in as the new mayor on Tuesday, the second time since November, unseating Maphetle. Democratic Alliance North West leader Chris Hattingh said at the time that 29 councillors of all parties, including the ANC, unanimously voted to return Combrink to the position of mayor.

On Wednesday, the North West ANC’s provincial disciplinary committee said 14 of its councillors who voted to unseat Maphetle, were expelled from the party. They would also be removed Potchefstroom councillors.

Kegakilwe said the councillors had to be expelled because they handed power to an opposition party.

“They can’t take power that the people have given to the ANC and give it to the DA, the DA which has never taken care of our people and will never take care of our people.

“We are here now in the taxi rank to tell the people that it’s only the African National Congress that can change their lives for the better.”

Kegakilwe said the PWC on Monday appointed six new proportional representation councillors for the municipality.

By-elections would be held soon to elect new ward councillors.

He said the ANC did not recognise Combrink as mayor and said Maphetle was still mayor.

“Combrink will never do anything for the people of Potchefstroom… she will never assist the people, she has never assisted them. They will keep on promising what they can’t achieve,” Kegakilwe said.

He said the ANC was confident it would win the court case to nullify the council’s decision.

“We are confident, we have studied all the documents and we are quite sure… Her [Combrink’s] mayorship is not recognised. Comrade Maphetle is the ANC mayor.”

The DA on Monday said Maphetle had failed to adhere to a legal notice forcing him to vacate his office at the municipality.

“During talks with DA councillors today, Mr Maphetle attempted to push for a political and not a legal resolution for the impasse,” Hattingh said.

“He also indicated that he has instructed his mayoral committee not to vacate their offices.”

Hattingh said the DA was consulting its lawyers on the issue.

Earlier, several Potchefstroom residents welcomed the DA taking over the municipality.

“What happened in the council is right,” PR Kali said at the town’s taxi rank.

“We think there will be change if the Democratic Alliance takes over.”

He said the ANC-dominated council had done nothing to eradicate poverty in the city or create jobs.

TB Masibi said he was expecting “huge change”.

“We expect a lot of change from the DA. They will combat crime and corruption.”

While the DA was in charge last year, it requested a forensic investigation into irregularities at the municipality. The probe found that the council had irregularly bought Maphetle a R736,000 customised Mercedes-Benz. Maphetle also allegedly abused the disaster management fund and poverty relief fund.

The report recommended that formal disciplinary action be taken against him and other officials.

In May, the DA laid criminal charges against Maphetle. In June Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said she would investigate the claims of corruption involving Maphetle.

Both Masibi and Kali complained about corruption and the lack of jobs.

Many of the fruit and vegetable vendors at the Potchefstroom taxi rank were from Lesotho.

Masibi said he used to have a shop but could not compete with the foreigners and the ANC had done nothing to create jobs for locals.

A woman who did not want to be named said she “felt good” about the DA taking over.

“I am happy… [The ANC] is not for me,” she said. – Sapa