Violent protests have rocked the Northern Cape town of Kimberley. Picture: 123RF/ VLADISLAV GAJIC
Violent protests have rocked the Northern Cape town of Kimberley. Picture: 123RF/ VLADISLAV GAJIC

Kimberley will be led by an acting mayor, after the High Court ordered Mangaliso Matika to vacate the office following his refusal to resign.

Violent protests have rocked the Northern Cape town, with residents demanding that Matika, as well as the municipal manager and the CFO step down.

Among the reported reasons behind the protest was a R260 flat fee for electricity availability, which residents had to pay in addition to prepaid or monthly bills.

A high level ANC delegation, including police minister Bheki Cele, and cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize were deployed to Kimberley earlier this week.

Matika was voted out as mayor in a DA-sponsored motion of no confidence, in which 11 ANC councillors threw their support behind the opposition last week, angering their party.

The High Court on Monday ordered that an acting mayor hold the fort in the three weeks before it deals with the merits of a review application. This pertains to the constitution of the meeting which saw Matika’s ouster.

It was agreed that the ANC’s Pule Thabane — the same ANC member voted in as mayor following Matika’s removal — be appointed acting mayor.

Thabane does not have the ANC’s official mandate, as it did not support the motion of no confidence in Matika.

Matika’s removal from council is similar to the political "coup" in Knysna, where former DA mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies was voted out in a motion of no confidence with the help of two DA councillors, after which the DA’s Mark Willemse was elected as mayor. Willemse, who did not have his party’s mandate to stand as mayor, has refused to step down, and the party has yet to succeed in removing him.

Northern Cape DA leader Andrew Louw said: "It can’t be that the entire city is held hostage as a result of one person."

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