Weekend special Tshwane Mayor resigns, ending week of drama

The EFF and ANC alliance in Tshwane has been dealt a huge blow after attempts to oust the DA from power fell short. Their endorsed candidate, Murunwa Makwarela, has stepped down from his role as City of Tshwane Executive Mayor after the revelation that his notice of rehabilitation was found to be fraudulent.

The Congress of the People (COPE) confirmed: “COPE in Tshwane Region has duly accepted the resignation of Dr Murunwa Makwarela as the Executive Mayor of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality following the questions raised over the legitimacy of his Rehabilitation Certificate or Court Order. The Region believes that these matters are sub judice and would not want to comment on it at this stage.

“The COPE Tshwane Region has therefore resolved to give Dr Murunwa Makwarela the space required to deal with these personal matters and legal matters and to afford him his constitutional right of being innocent until proven otherwise.

“In the light of the development with the courts, the Region has also resolved to withdraw Dr Makwarela as a COPE Public Representative with immediate effect from the IC and therefore as the public Representative in the City of Tshwane Council. The due processes will be followed for the removal and a suitable candidate to take over as the Councilor will be announced in due course.”

The notice of rehabilitation
On Friday, the Pretoria High Court Chief Registrar revealed that Makwarela had submitted a fake notice of rehabilitation, which was discovered after he was disqualified as a PR councillor earlier in the week.

Makwarela had submitted the fraudulent notice in an attempt to appeal his disqualification and be reinstated as mayor. However, the notice was not issued by the High Court in Pretoria, and the matter has now been referred to the Director for Priority Crimes Investigations for further investigation.

“I Tumelo Refilwe Ledwaba, the Chief Registrar of the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division Pretoria, hereby confirm that the document purporting to be an order issued by this Court was never issued in our court.

“I also confirm that no rehabilitation order has ever been issued regarding the parties named in the said document.

“I am referring this matter to the Office of the Director for Priority Crimes Investigations for their and the institution of criminal proceedings,” said Ledwaba.
Makwarela’s actions have ultimately caused harm to himself.
The multiparty coalition in Tshwane also laid a criminal case against Makwarela at the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria on Friday morning.

“The charges relate to allegations that Dr Makwarela knowingly supplied falsified and fraudulent documentation to the City of Tshwane,” said the coalition in a statement.

The mayor did not respond to calls for comment at the time of publishing.

Makwarela’s certificate sparked controversy after it was compared to other notices of rehabilitation. The City of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba on Friday morning confirmed that the city has referred the matter to legal services for further investigation.
“The City Manager, Mr Johann Mettler, has requested legal services to investigate certain aspects of the rehabilitation notice that was presented to him by Councillor Murunwa Makwarela yesterday.

“This was done as a consequence of various issues that were brought to his attention during the course of yesterday,” Bokaba said.

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

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 Thursday morning, Mattler received Makwarela’s notice of insolvency and informed the IEC to “immediately” withdraw the declaration of a vacancy for the COPE councillor and Makwarela was subsequently reinstated as mayor.

“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.

“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,” Bokaba said at the time.

Lesufi’s political meddling created Makwarela debacle
The DA is holding Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi responsible for the unsuccessful and brief tenure of former Tshwane mayor Murunwa Makwarela, stating that Lesufi should take accountability for the debacle.
According to Jacqui Uys, DA Tshwane ward councillor, Lesufi played a key role in convincing ANC and EFF councillors to support Makwarela’s bid for the mayorship.
She said the premier also helped broker the talks that resulted in the appointment of Johannesburg mayor Thapelo Ahmed, who is viewed by some as being under the control of the ANC and EFF alliance.

“The failure of the Makwarela mayoralty is yet another failed intervention by the ANC’s provincial leadership in Gauteng in the affairs of the capital city, and one for which premier Panzaya Lesufi must accept personal responsibility,” said Uys.

“Mr Lesufi, more eager to act as provincial chairperson of the ANC than premier of the province, was instrumental in persuading ANC and EFF councillors to back Makwarela’s candidacy.
“He also facilitated the negotiations that led to the election of Johannesburg’s ANC-EFF puppet mayor Thapelo Ahmed.”

The EFF and ANC alliance
Since Lesufi rose to power as the ANC provincial chairperson and Gauteng premier late in 2022, his coalition with the EFF has seen the DA losing power in Tshwane and in Johannesburg.
As a result of the collaboration, on Wednesday Dr Murunwa Makwarela of Cope was elected as the new mayor of Tshwane.
In February, Thapelo Amad, a member of a Muslim minority political party with just three seats, Al-Jama-ah’s, became Johannesburg’s new mayor.
In Johannesburg, both the ANC and EFF settled for mayoral committee seats in exchange for their votes, and the same is likely to happen in Tshwane.
The two parties worked together against the DA in Ekurhuleni in 2022 when city mayor Tania Campbell squared off with ANC’s Mzwandile Masina and EFF’s Nkululeko Dunga for the mayoral chain.
It was reported at the time that the ANC agreed with the EFF to remove the DA from power. The EFF would take over Tshwane in exchange for their votes for an ANC mayor in Johannesburg.

Later, Mpho Phalatse, who was the mayor of Johannesburg, dragged the mayoral battle to the high court after she was illegally ousted through a motion of no confidence.
The court ruled that the council sitting, which facilitated her removal, was unlawful and that the ANC’s Dada Morero, who had already assumed office, be removed.
When it became clear that the agreement bore no fruit, because the DA and its coalition partners held a majority in Gauteng metros, the two parties agreed to cease power, but not to allow the DA to gain power.

They arranged to work together to vote in favour of minority parties within the DA-led coalitions.

However, the newly found relationship between the ANC in Gauteng and Julius Malema’s red berets is not sitting well with members of the governing party in the province.
In a letter addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, the ANC branch leaders in Ekurhuleni’s ward 16 warn that the ruling party will regret associating itself with the EFF.
The authors, branch secretary Jabu Mbongwa and branch chairperson Andrew Baloyi, complain that the “renewed desperation to recapture power in the aforementioned municipalities” goes against Ramaphosa’s wisdom when he said in 2022, after the municipal elections, that “we are not desperate for power, and the ANC should not be bullied by minority parties”.

Mbongwa said: “whilst there is a broad recognition that coalition alliances and regimes are not new nor unique to the ANC, the party’s ward 16 is concerned about a lack of ANC traditions, strategy and tactics, and scientific approach to managing this political task”.

“We are of the view that coalition alliances should not be viewed narrowly as brokering political power without a political strategy and without thorough analysis and identified political consequences.

“It is this analysis that should assist the movement to develop a coalition strategy and tactics [so that] the movement can be positioned to understand the provincial and national balance of forces.”

Mbongwa continued: “We are of the view that the deployed narrow approach is limited to only seizing power at all costs and lacks science. It is narrowly structured as ‘dealings’ and lacks revolutionary integrity, which could have dire political consequences.”
He said the ANC in Gauteng “may be testing poison with a tongue, especially given the history of their coalition of choice, the EFF”, and added that Malema is a “terrorist” who has a “desperate objective to destroy the ANC and remove it from power”.

Mbongwa said the EFF’s planned protest action on March 20 to remove Ramaphosa as the country’s president is one example that it cannot be trusted as an ally.

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