On Monday this week, the new council for the Greater Tzaneen Municipality was inaugurated amongst much pomp and ceremony at the Ivory Tusk Lodge conference hall. The event was hosted at this venue as the council chambers was too small to hold the more than 150 attendees which included members of the public and the media. Shortly before the proceedings commenced, two councillors from the ANC, Sonia Ngobeni who served as manager in the office of the mayor, and Cassius Machimana who served in the council for three consecutive terms, resigned from their positions amongst much speculation.

Maripe Mangena was replaced as Mayor by the man from Bolobedu, Gerson Molapisane whilst Dikgaledi Mmetle was thankfully replaced as Speaker by Sanie Tiba. The new Whip of Council (formerly known as Chief Whip) is Given Malatji. The Executive Committee which consists of 8 ANC members, one DA and one EFF member was announced as Gerson Molapisane, Constance Ramothwala, Thabo Maunatlala, Sophy Raganya, Maggy Makwala, Maria Mmola, Richard Shingange, Renny Mabuza, Clifford Letsoalo and René Pohl.

To explain, the Mayor is the political head and the Municipal Manager the administrative head of the municipality. The Council Whip was created to maintain discipline among all political parties (within the governing party as well as those outside the ruling party). He is expected to build cordial relationships with all political parties. The Council Whip’s role covers both the political as well as the administrative functions of the Council with emphasis on political aspect.

All municipalities except for District municipalities are divided into wards. Within every local municipal council there are two types of councillors namely Ward Councillors and Proportional Representative (PR) Councillors. A Ward Councillor represents a specific ward on the municipal council and is elected through the “first past the post system” in which the candidate that receives the most votes wins. Ward Councillors are the chairpersons of their ward committees and must give special attention to their wards.

The DA managed to retain their two wards within the municipality which is Ward 14 and Ward 15. Ward Councillor René Pohl will serve in Ward 14, whilst Ward Councillor Chrizelle Dreyer will serve in Ward 15.

PR Councillors represent a political party on the municipal council and are elected through the system of “proportional representation”. In this system the political party nominates its candidates on the party list. The number of votes a party receives determines the number of candidates a political party will have.

In the Greater Tzaneen Municipality’s council there is a total of 69 seats. The ANC currently has 51 of those seats, the EFF has 9, the DA 5, the FF+ has 1, APC has 1 and the AFP has 1. There are 35 Ward seats (35 wards within the municipality which each need a Ward Councillor) and of these, the ANC has 32 seats, the DA has 2 and an independent candidate from Nkowankowa has 1 seat. Within these same wards, there were candidates from other parties who did not win enough votes to win the ward but garnered enough votes for their party to insure a seat on the PR Council. There are 34 PR seats in the municipality of which ANC has 19, the EFF has 9, the DA has 3 and the FF+, APC and AFP each have one seat.

Andre Moss represents the FF+ on the PR Council whilst the DA’s three representatives are Chrisma Bredenkamp, Lebeus Ramalepe and Ngwako Mohonone. A full list of all the names of the Ward and PR Councillors in your area can be viewed on the municipality’s website www.greatertzaneen.gov.za