Stevens Mokgalapa to resign as Tshwane mayor
The DA has lost its second mayor in Tshwane after Stevens Mokgalapa announced on Sunday that he will resign from the top political post in the city.
His intended resignation means more uncertainty lies ahead for the residents of Tshwane, as the DA may not have the numbers to elect its third mayor in as many years. The party does not have a majority and is dependent on coalition partners to pass a vote.
The DA lost the mayorship of Johannesburg late in 2019 when it was unable to garner enough support to elect Herman Mashaba’s successor after he resigned as a result of internal party politics.
Mokgalapa’s resignation follows months of increasing pressure, and it is understood that if he had not resigned he would have been pushed out.
Mokgalapa’s resignation, which will be submitted before a council meeting later in February according to a statement on Sunday, comes just less than a year after he was elected to the post. During this time he has had to fight off a motion of no confidence after being embroiled in, among others, a sex scandal.
Mokgalapa was elected after Solly Msimanga, the DA’s former Tshwane mayor, resigned to focus on the party’s failed bid to install its first premier in Gauteng after the 2019 general elections.
Mokgalapa’s resignation follows a preliminary internal probe into a recording of conversations and alleged sexual relations between him and former transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge. A decision was taken by the DA’s federal executive last week that he would have to face a disciplinary hearing.
Senkubuge resigned as MMC and as councillor after the recording ignited a political storm in the metro, which has been in turmoil for almost two years.
Mokgalapa said on Sunday it had been a tough decision, but it was important that the people of Tshwane be put first.
He said he was aware that his presence in office was “a football that others with political malice cannot resist kicking around. Those that put politics first risk dragging down the administration and, unfortunately, they do not care about the people. I do.”
He emphasised that he has not broken any laws and was confident he would “emerge positively” from any assessment into his conduct.
“But in the end, I have concluded that it is best for the city if I stand down as mayor,” Mokgalapa said.
DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said he noted the resignation and the DA would now initiate a process to nominate a new mayor for Tshwane.
Moodey said the party would assess candidates who made themselves available and would consult widely, including with the DA’s coalition partners.
“The DA will select the person who will provide the greatest prospect of successful service delivery for the remainder of the term of office,” Moodey said.
He thanked Mokgalapa for his service.
“We are aware of many good things that he has achieved, but accept his resignation,” Moodey said.