By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – In a development that is set to send shockwaves across Maluti-a-Phofung, Executive Mayor, Cllr Gilbert Tjhopo Mokotso, has been ousted.
Mokotso together with the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality Council Speaker, Paratlane Motloung were ousted through a motion of no confidence tabled by the African National Congress at a special council sitting on Tuesday.
Forty-five councillors voted in favour of removing t Mokotso, while 19 voted against the motion. Forty-six voted in favour for the removal of Motloung and 20 against.
Chief Whip Moeketsi Lebesa survived the motion as the ANC Councillor Malekula Melato withdrew the motion.
All the opposition parties including those in the coalition voted in favour of removing Mokotso and Paratlane and there was only one abstention.
ANC caucus leader, Mandlenkosi Dlamini, said the party submitted three motions of no confidence against Council Speaker Paratlane Motloung, Executive Mayor Gilbert Mokotso and Council Whip Moeketsi Lebesa in June this year, but after several delays the motion was eventually tabled and debated during a special council meeting last night.
“The motion was brought on several points, most notably against the mayor’s lack of leadership which led to a collapse of service delivery in the municipality as well as the fact that he does not engage the community on burning issues since he came into office,” said Dlamini.
Economic Freedom Fighters Regional Chairperson, Cllr Mohau Molwele said the removal of Mokotso and Paratlane would send a strong message to the Map16-led coalition and councillors that mismanagement and corruption will not be tolerated.
“The EFF will continue to expose corruption and stand for the people on all levels of government; we supported the council not the ANC,” Molwele emphasized.
The Democratic Alliance said the removal of Mokotso and Paratlane signaled a blessing in disguise since the pair had failed to drive the Municipality in the right direction of fighting corruption like they had promised.
“The DA will not rest until the root of corruption in the municipality is out completely. Its councillors were battling to ensure accountability and that services are delivered to our people. We wrote to the speaker several times without success,” said Moshe Lefuma.
Meanwhile, Mokotso has admitted the defeat and promised to bounce back.
“We are not bitter at all. We knew when we were elected that at any time we can be voted out because we do not have numbers. Our coalition government was shaky and we were no longer united. But we will bounce back.”
Mokotso and Paratlane remained in the council until it was officially adjourned.
The council meeting to elect a new Executive Mayor and Speaker will convene in the next 14 days.
In order to form a government a coalition needs at least 36 seats. The ANC, which is the largest party with 28 out of 70 seats, is expected to form a coalition government with the support of the EFF’s seven seats and Dikwankwetla’ three.
Meanwhile, the council also seconded the appointment of acting municipal manager, Amos Goliath, by the MEC Cogta for three months.
This after the outgoing leadership failed to appoint municipal manager.
Maluti -A- Phofung local municipality consists of 70 – seats , the ANC has 28 seats, Map16 has 20 seats, DA has five seats, EFF has seven seats and Dikwankwetla has three seats, ACM two seats, Freedom Front Plus,
ATM, AIC, SARKO and AULA each has one seat.