Applications seeking the removal of the municipal acting manager for the Mogalakwena local Municipality, in Mokopane, Sam Bambo, have received a strong backing by the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane.
In their separate application, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Limpopo, and Mogalakwena local Municipality accountant Duncan Kekana had questioned the fitness of the acting city manager and challenged his appointment as the caretaker of the troubled municipality.
On Tuesday morning, the Limpopo High Court ruled in favour of the applications and granted both parties the order that Bambo’s appointment was irregular and must be set aside.
Reporters heard after the court victory that the EFF had warned the ANC that Bambo’s appointment was irregular, but the ANC continued to retain him.
EFF provincial secretary Jossey Buthane told members of the media: “We have since informed them that the appointment is irregular. They arrogantly used their numbers to defy logic. We came to court and they have granted us today the order that the appointment was irregular and must be set aside.”
He slammed the ANC for abusing public funds. Buthane reiterated that the economic fighters will not rest until they expose how lawless the ANC government has been.
Mokopane houses the Mogalakwena Local Municipality, which is located in the Waterberg District Municipality of Limpopo province. The municipality has been plagued by political, administrative and court battles for the past four years.
Situated in the platinum belt, the Mogalakwena municipality is the only municipality with a high turnover of mayors in Limpopo. The embattled municipality consists of 32 wards, with 189 villages and has a budget of more than R1.1 billion for 2016/2017 financial year.
It is pertinent to note that the political infighting at the Mogalakwena municipality began in 2012 when the then mayor, Esther Mothibi, tendered her resignation.
Mothibi was subsequently replaced by Tlhalefi Mashamaite. But things took a tragic turn for the worse in June 2014 when some ANC councilors teamed up with opposition parties and removed Mashamaite through a vote of no confidence.
Malose Mabuela was then brought in to replace Mashamaite. Mabuela was one of the ANC councilors who played along with opposition to throw out Mashamaite.
Not long after, Mabuela was then expelled along with 22 other ANC councillors for working with the opposition to vote out an ANC mayor.
Formerly displaced Mashamaite was again reinstated by the ANC but he was later recalled by the party in 2015. A fresh candidate – Sebatjane – was installed after Mashamaite but by then, the conflict at the Mogalakwena municipality had already turned fatal.
The conflict also led to the death of the leader of Mogalakwena Residents Association, Piet Pale in what his group believe was a hit linked to his involvement in fighting corruption and opposing another faction of ANC councilors at the council. Pale was gunned down at the height of the infighting in 2014.