Lim­popo bal­lot­ing after tussle for seats in coun­cil

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MOLOKO MOLOTO

THE ANC strode to pole po­si­tion be­fore by-elec­tions to be held to­day in ar­guably the coun­try’s most disor­derly mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

On Mon­day, dur­ing a dis­play that repli­cated a coup d’état, Tl­halefi Mashamaite, who is favoured by the ANC de­spite cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions, re­cap­tured the po­si­tion of mayor at Mo­galak­wena Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Lim­popo.

Po­lice swooped on coun­cil premises to in­stall Mashamaite while in­cum­bent mayor Malose Mabuela was out of the of­fice.

A group of 22 ANC coun­cil­lors teamed up with their op­po­si­tion col­leagues in April to re­move Mashamaite, who had been im­pli­cated in a KPMG foren­sic re­port in the al­leged mis­use of R1.5 mil­lion.

The di­vided coun­cil re­placed Mashamaite with Mabuela.

The ANC provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive re­sponded in July by ex­pelling the 22 coun­cil­lors. But the de­fi­ant group, among them Mabuela, Speaker Meelba Mabusela and for­mer mayor Es­ther Moth­ibi, re­mained in their po­si­tions un­til this week.

Mabuela has not re­turned to the of­fice since Mashamaite’s mil­i­tary-style takeover on Mon­day.

Mashamaite con­firmed yes­ter­day that he had taken over the role of mayor.

While he was con­duct­ing his may­oral du­ties, mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials stood idle out­side coun­cil premises.

He said they had been in­structed by the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, Wil­liam Kekana, who sided with the 22 ex­pelled coun­cil­lors, not to re­port for duty. Kekana dis­puted this, say­ing work­ers were kicked out of the coun­cil premises by po­lice on Mon­day.

To­day, the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion will con­duct by-elec­tions in 11 wards to re­place 13 of the ex­pelled coun­cil­lors.

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