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Mogalakwena Municipality to have 5th mayor in 5 years

The embattled Mogalakwena local municipality in Limpopo will have its fifth mayor in a period of five years if the African National Congress (ANC) wins the local government elections on August 3.

 

The outgoing mayor, Malesela Sebatjane, will vacate the position to pave a way for Andrina Matsemela, an ANC mayoral candidate.

The municipality has been plagued by political, administrative and court battles for the past four years.

Situated in the platinum belt, the Mogalakwena municipality in Mokopane, is the only municipality with a high turn-over of mayors in Limpopo.

The municipality consists of 32 wards, with 189 villages. The governing party – ANC – has nominated Andrina Matsemela to replace Malesela Sebatjane as mayor.

Sebatjane was elected to replace Tlhalefi Mashamaite in June last year after infighting at the municipality.

Residents say the infighting at the municipality may continue after elections.

“I foresee our municipality being administrated at Polokwane after the elections. If they can give Sebatjane another chance to led this Mogalakwena we will go somewhere. I don’t think there is another mayor who can assist the community. I’m afraid because when they remove Mr Sebatjane in this position it is going to be a problem in the municipality because the community is not going to have some services. It will be a shame to the residents of Mogalakwena if Sebatjane can walk away from that position.”

Political analyst Elvis Masoga says Matsemela stands a good chance to stabilise the municipality as she is not aligned to any faction.

“In Mogalakwena you have two rival factions that are prepared to throw up every object at each other they are not even prepared to compromise. Matsemela she has not been part of any faction so this choice was to neutralise the political situation in Mogalakwena and I think it was a wise decision.”

The Mogalakwena municipality has a budget of more than R1.1 billion for 2016/2017 financial year.

Mayor Malesela Sebatjane is positive that operations will be stable after the elections.

“The Mogalakwena local municipality is dominantly rural we have about 180 villages. We are on track in terms of  elections, all parties that are contesting the elections they are ready. In the financial year that has started on the first of July, we have approved R1.16 billion.”

Two years ago, the then MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs Ishmael Kgetjepe announced that the Mogalakwena municipality is being placed under administration.

However, that attempt was interdicted in the High Court in Pretoria by the municipal council and the then Mogalakwena Resident Association.

Political infighting of the Mogalakwena municipality started in 2012 when the then mayor, Esther Mothibi, tendered her resignation.

She was replaced by Tlhalefi Mashamaite. Things took a turn for the worse in June 2014 when some ANC councillors teamed up with opposition parties and removed Mashamaite through a vote of no confidence.

Mashamaite was then replaced by Malose Mabuela, one of  the ANC councillors who collaborated with opposition to remove Mashamaite.

Mabuela was then expelled together with 22 ANC councillors by their party for working with the opposition to vote out an ANC mayor.

Mashamaite was reinstated before being recalled again by the ANC in 2015.

Sebatjane then took over. The conflict at the Mogalakwena municipality has already turned fatal.

The leader of Mogalakwena Residents Association, Piet Pale, was gunned down at the height of the infighting last year. Suspects in his killing are yet to be arrested.

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