Murunwa Makwarela reinstated as mayor of unstable Tshwane

Murunwa Makwarela has been reinstated as the City Of Tshwane mayor after he submitted his insolvency rehabilitation certificate to the city manager on Wednesday.

Makwarela, who ascended to the mayorship last week on the ticket of the ANC and EFF collaboration efforts, was on Tuesday disqualified as a PR councillor due to insolvency.

It was revealed that he was declared insolvent by a court of law in 2016 and was consequently disqualified from holding public office.

The development is a blow to the DA-led coalition that sought to oust him and replace him with its own candidate, former DA MP Cilliers Brink.

The DA teamed up with ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus, IFP, and the African Christian Democratic Party.

The Makwarela incident marks another chapter in the persistent political instability in several metros across the country as a result of unworkable coalition arrangements.

The status quo would be worrying, especially given the possibility that the ANC might not win a majority vote in the 2024 general elections, which may for the first time force a coalition in national government.

It was also reported last week that Makwarela was in a financial mess and therefore unsuitable, by law, to even become a councillor.

However, in his defence, Makwarela told the media that he was still awaiting his “rehabilitated insolvent” certificate.

He was disqualified in terms of section 47(1)(c) of the constitution, which stipulates that people who are “unrehabilitated insolvents” cannot hold public office.

On Tuesday, Tshwane city manager Johann Mettler wrote to Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)  and pushed for Makwarela’s demise on the basis of insolvency.

On Wednesday, the election regulator confirmed that it had officially disqualified the embattled mayor and noted that it is the duty of either the municipal manager, cooperative governance MEC, or speaker to verify whether councillors meet all constitutional requirements to serve in public office.

At the time, IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said the commission has given the Congress of the People (COPE) 21 days to appoint the next PR councillor in the City of Tshwane to replace Makwarela.

Makwarela was also given 21 days to prove that he is rehabilitated.

According to Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba, Mattler received the notice of insolvency on Thursday morning and informed the IEC to “immediately” withdraw the declaration of a vacancy for the COPE councillor.

“The IEC has confirmed receipt of a letter from the city manager for the withdrawal of the vacancy declaration and has undertaken to process it accordingly, as they are still within the 21-day time limit,” Bokaba said.

“Accordingly, all the benefits and perks accorded to Dr Makwarela as executive mayor of the City of Tshwane have forthwith been reinstated.

“On Tuesday, the city manager wrote to the Gauteng provincial electoral officer informing him of a casual vacancy which had occurred in the city following the disqualification of the COPE PR councillor, Dr Makwarela.”

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