The troubled Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Mokopane, Limpopo, has a new mayor, the sixth in less than ten years.
Frans Mokwele was elected the new mayor during a virtual council sitting. He replaces the fired mayor Andrina Matsemela.
The municipality has been marred by problems of financial mismanagement, corruption, tender irregularities and political instability due to infighting among African National Congress (ANC) councilors.
The new mayor, Mokwele, says the main challenges will be to improve basic services such as the provision of water and rehabilitation of roads.
ANC provincial spokesperson in Limpopo Donald Selamolela says they’re confident that Mokwele will bring stability to the municipality.
“He carries on himself together with the collective huge responsibility of bringing stability in that municipality we have confident and no doubt whatsoever that comrade Frans Mokwele together with the collective will deliver to the expectations of the African National Congress mandate,” says Selamolela.
In December last year, Mokwele was appointed acting mayor of the municipality, as stated in the report below:
48-year-old Mokwele of Mosesetjane village, outside Mokopane, says he is aware of tough challenges at the municipality but his main focus is on the provision of water to residents and rehabilitation of roads.
“The most important critical issue is the issue of water in all areas of Mogalakwena they are having the challenge of water and another issue we have been having this problem of Eloise this floods and everything the issue of the road if you can see all our roads throughout Mogalakwena including the town they are on a very critical stage that is the main focus area for now.”
Councillor Mokwele – who has been a member of the executive committee responsible for electrical service for six years – is also deputy chairperson of the ANC in the Waterberg Region.
The spokesperson of the region – Matome Moremi-Taueatsoala – says they have given the new political management team (PMT) led by Mokwele, a mandate.
“Our mandate to the political management team is to focus primarily on the issue of service delivery to our people but of importance is to stabilise governance in the municipality so that they can be able to do anything according to the prescription.”
Political analyst Levy Ndou says continuous change of leadership in the Mogalakwena local municipality is an indication of instability.
“The consistent replacement of leadership in Mogalakwena is a clear indication of instability in the municipality and it negatively affects service delivery when it comes to the local government elections that are coming opposition has to take advantage of the challenges within the party and then reposition themselves to lead the municipality”
Pheladi Oliphant and Staff Tsebe were elected to the positions of Speaker and Chief Whip respectively. The two replace Samuel Mathebula and Mike Rapatsa.
Non-compliance in the supply chain and municipal finances resulted in the municipality incurring an unauthorised expenditure of nearly R3 billion in the last three financial years.
Mayors come and gone
In 2012, Esther Mothibi tendered her resignation.
Thlelefi Mashamaite was then appointed and two years later, he was voted out as the mayor after being implicated in a forensic report for allegedly misusing R1 million budgeted to the mayor’s office.
Malose Mabuela was then appointed mayor but was removed within a year.
Mashamaite was then reinstated. He was again axed within six months just before the 2016 local government elections to make way for Parks Sebatjane.
Sebatjane was removed as mayor after the election and Andrina Matsemela was then appointed.