The African National Congress (ANC) in Limpopo’s Waterberg Region has conceded defeat in its legal battle for control of Thabazimbi Municipality, opting to negotiate with other parties for power-sharing rather than pursuing further appeals.
This follows a court judgment dismissing the ANC’s application to appeal the removal of its councillors as Mayor and Speaker in October 2022. The judgment reinstated the DA’s Tokkie Swanepoel as Mayor, replacing the ANC’s Judith Mogapi.
The ANC had argued that the council sitting that installed Mogapi was legitimate, but Judge Violet Semenya disagreed, finding no compelling reasons for an appeal. Her ruling dealt a significant blow to the ANC’s ambitions in Thabazimbi.
ANC regional secretary Rufus Magoro announced a shift in strategy: “We are in talks with parties that are willing to work with the ANC… The resources used for legal battles will be channeled towards service delivery.”
Ben Thlabadira, the DA-led coalition’s speaker, welcomed the development, expressing confidence that the court saga had finally concluded.
“It’s high time we move beyond the courts and utilize municipal funds for the benefit of the community,” he said.
The power struggle in Thabazimbi has been ongoing since the November 2021 local elections, where the ANC secured eleven seats while a coalition of opposition parties, including the DA, EFF, TRA, FF Plus, and TFSD, won twelve. Despite the ANC’s slight lead, it was forced into opposition as the other parties joined forces.