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ANC wins court bid to block newly elected Mangaung metro mayor 

ANC wins court bid to block newly elected Mangaung metro mayor 
Afrikan Alliance of Social Democrats leader, Papi Mokoena during the election of new mayor for the Mangaung Metro Municipality on 14 April, 2023 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The metro had been without a mayor since the resignation of Mxolisi Siyonzana in March. (Photo: Gallo Images/Volksblad/Mlungisi Louw)

Free State ANC provincial secretary Polediso Motsoeneng said they wanted Mayor Papi Mokoena to be interdicted and restrained from performing any act associated with his position, pending the finalisation of a review process.

The ANC in the Free State on Wednesday obtained an interim court order against the newly elected Mangaung metro mayor, Papi Mokoena, in the Bloemfontein high court. 

The party’s provincial leadership went to court on an urgent basis asking to be granted an interim order against Mokoena from the Afrikan Alliance of Social Democrats (AASD). 

The ANC lost two key positions in the metro council in the past month.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Mangaung mayhem – fresh blows for embattled ANC as DA snatches key position, workers crash council meeting 

First, the DA’s Maryke Davies was elected as speaker, and then Mokoena was elected as executive mayor at a special council sitting. Mokoena was the former mayor of the municipality until his arrest in 2005 on charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering, theft and money laundering. He was acquitted in 2012. He returned to the council after his party won two seats in the 2021 local elections. 

In a founding affidavit supporting the court application, Free State ANC provincial secretary Polediso Motsoeneng said they wanted Mokoena to be interdicted and restrained from performing any act associated with his position, pending the finalisation of a review process. He said the appointment of the mayor, at a special council meeting, was “clearly unlawful”.  

Motsoeneng said Mokoena must not be allowed to continue in this position until the court has pronounced upon the validity of the actions of eight former ANC councillors who had recently been expelled by the party and attended the meeting at which Mokoena was elected.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Mangaung metro deputy mayor and councillors swiftly axed 

Motsoeneng said this was despite the party getting, on 14 April, an interdict against their attendance at the meeting. He said if the former ANC councillors had adhered to the interdict, the sitting would not have been quorate, and that Davies was aware that the expelled councillors were not — by law — supposed to attend the sitting. 

Motsoeneng said the new mayor had “already started to make changes” to the mayoral committee and was in the “process of employing new staff in his office”. If the situation continued and the review was successful, decisions taken by Mokoena would have to be set aside.  

“The municipality cannot undo the irregularity. Its standing orders do not allow for the revisiting of the resolution within a three-month time period,” he said. The ANC had “no choice other than to proceed with [the] application”.  

Meanwhile, an application by the community pressure group Mangaung Service Delivery Forum to set aside the election of Davies will be heard in the Bloemfontein high court on Thursday. DM 

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