Tensions ran high at Vryburg in the North West following outbursts by members of the public after the election of an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Councillor Tebogo Babuile as the executive mayor of the Dr. Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality on Friday.
While 30 votes were cast only 27 were counted after three votes were spoilt, resulting in Babuile walking away with 17 votes while the African National Congress (ANC) mayoral nominee Gaolatlhe Kgabo received only 10.
The District Municipality has 30 seats with the ANC occupying 16 seats, the EFF 10, the DA, United Christian Democratic Party, the Patriotic Alliance, and African Content Municipality having a single seat each.
Chaos erupted during the first sitting of the Dr. Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipal Council. Members of the public were enraged by the alleged collusion of some ANC councillors with the opposition to elect EFF Councillor Tebogo Babuile as Mayor.
This unexpected turn of events also evoked the emotions of provincial political leaders.
“You would understand that as the EFF we have contested elections and as a result, by contesting elections automatically you are saying that you are also contesting power inside the municipalities. We have been contesting the mayoral positions and speakers in all the municipalities and as a result, we are very happy with the outcomes of this district municipality,” says EFF’s Provincial Secretary Papiki.
Mayor Tebogo Babuile has welcomed the results of the elections:
Wesley Kgang speaking on behalf of the ANC Youth League in North West says, “We are going to establish as to what happened but we are sure of the fact that 6 out of our 16 councillors inside this council did not do what they were instructed to do. There will be severe consequence management that will take place in this council. This does not start with ANC councillors sleeping in bed with an enemy precisely because EFF outrightly went out to declare us an enemy in the form of their CIC Julius Malema…”
Meanwhile, residents are also divided on the outcome of the mayoral elections. “We are very much disappointed with the outcomes that the councillor of the EFF emerged as the mayor,” says one of the residents.
Another resident says, “When we ask for services, we are told about the district. So we hope that with an EFF Mayor in the district, things will change.”
ANC councillor Kgalalelo Sereko was elected council Speaker by 21 votes to the EFF’s nine.