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MUNICIPAL MAYHEM

Tshwane Mayor Murunwa Makwarela gets his post back after submitting a certificate of solvency

Tshwane Mayor Murunwa Makwarela gets his post back after submitting a certificate of solvency
Dr Murunwa Makwarela of COPE speaks after he was elected as the new Executive Mayor of Tshwane at the special council meeting on February 28, 2023 in Pretoria, South Africa. It is reported that Dr Murunwa Makwarela of COPE defeated Cilliers Brink of DA with 112 to 101 votes. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

In a week of drama in the City of Tshwane, recently ousted mayor Murunwa Makwarela was reinstated to his position on Thursday after furnishing City Manager Johann Mettler with a certificate that shows he is a rehabilitated insolvent.

Cope’s Murunwa Makwarela was disqualified as a councillor and automatically lost his mayoral position on Tuesday after failing to submit a certificate of rehabilitation to the city manager upon request last week. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Another Tshwane mayor bites the dust as Murunwa Makwarela gets the boot

A statement released on Thursday by the City of Tshwane said that Makwarela had been given his mayoral job back, along with the attendant perks which include a car, driver and bodyguard:

“The City Manager of Tshwane, Mr Johann Mettler, received a notice of insolvency rehabilitation from Councillor Dr Murunwa Makwarela and has subsequently informed the Gauteng Provincial Electoral Officer of the [Electoral Commission of South Africa] to immediately withdraw the declaration of a vacancy for the Congress of the People (Cope) Proportional Representative Councillor.’’

Dr Murunwa Makwarela of COPE speaks after he was elected as the new Executive Mayor of Tshwane at the special council meeting on 28 February 2023 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

The statement also says the IEC has confirmed receipt of the letter from the city manager and will process it accordingly.

“All the benefits and perks accorded to Dr Makwarela as the executive mayor of the City of Tshwane have forthwith been reinstated,” concluded the statement.

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The DA said it had taken note of the statement by the City of Tshwane regarding Makwarela’s rehabilitation certificate.

“We have not been furnished with a copy of the ‘certificate’ produced by Makwarela. Once we do have this document, we will seek to authenticate it with the assistance of our attorneys. We accept that the City Manager has to treat whatever document Makwarela has furnished at face value.

“If, however, it is discovered that Makwarela has not produced a genuine rehabilitation order, he must know that the consequences will be severe,” said DA councillor Jacqui Uys.

ANC councillor Dr Kgoši Maepa says his party is pleased with the latest development.

“We know why the DA was desperate to remove Mayor Makwarela. It’s because we ANC now have an archive of all files regarding maladministration, malfeasance and corrupt activities that took place under the DA administration.

“The DA must account for the R10-billion irregular expenditure flagged by the Auditor-General,” said Maepa.

Mayoral saga

The Makwarela saga began on 28 February when he resigned as speaker of the City of Tshwane and opted to immediately stand for election as mayor under the banner of the EFF and ANC. Makwarela replaced the DA’s Randall Williams who quit the mayoral position on 13 February after the Auditor-General’s adverse report on Tshwane’s 2021/22 financial year.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Tshwane mayor Randall Williams steps down, thus avoiding another motion of no confidence

Makwarela defeated DA mayoral candidate Cilliers Brinks by 112 votes to 101. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Tshwane gets a new mayor – Cope’s Makwarela – as seething multiparty coalition seeks answers”

Sensing that some of its councillors might have voted against Brink to hand victory to Makwarela, the multiparty coalition parties – the DA and ActionSA – said it would ask its members to submit to lie-detector tests.

The DA’s Uys said the polygraph tests were scheduled to be completed this week at five venues in Centurion.

Legal expert Prof Jaap de Visser told Daily Maverick that polygraph tests would only be legal if those subjected to them underwent the process voluntarily.

“It would be illegal should the DA act on the refusal of its councillors to take polygraph tests or act on the outcome of the tests,” he said.

The IEC had not responded to queries at the time of publication regarding Makwarela’s status in terms of the commission’s rules and regulations. DM

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