Moqhaka elects new mayor

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Mpho Chakane Photo: Facebook
The Moqhaka Council has on Friday elected Speaker Mpho Chakane to take over the helm as Mayor of the Municipality which includes Kroonstad and Viljoenskroon.

OFM News reports Chakane will hand over his duties as Speaker to Selloane Khiba who will take up the role on an acting basis, whilst Councillor, Antie Mahlatsi will act as Council Whip. This development comes on the back of the sudden death of 49-year old former Moqhaka Mayor, Lucky Phooko Mayor who died suddenly en route to a Pax clinic located in his native town of Viljoenskroon, on 14 September. His death was received with shock from his colleagues and fellow ANC members. At the time of his death he was also the Free State chairperson of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco). Chakane has in his celebratory address in the special council sitting, lauded the work done by Phooko and vowed to ensure that the community has access to basic services in addition to the other plans he has in the pipeline.

In early October, the council extended Rachere Moletsane’s tenure as acting Moqhaka Mayor for an additional seven working days. Moletsane was the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) responsible for Finance at the time of Phooko’s death. The deceased had self-appointed Moletsane to act on his behalf shortly before his death. Leader of the DA in the Moqhaka Caucus, and Mayoral candidate, David Nzunga, told OFM News at the time that council was unable to proceed with the election of the mayor, because “the ANC did not have a candidate as per the instruction of Luthuli house on who should the mayor be from their side”. Nzunga formally announced in the interview that he too was contesting the elections and was confident, he would emerge victorious.

Nzunga previously told OFM News, the deceased was a Proportional Representation (PR) Councillor and not an elected ward Councillor. This meant there wouldn’t be by-elections, rather “a replacement from his political party would be selected”. PR Councillors are chosen based on the number of votes a political party gets in a local government election, they are not elected individually per se.

The deceased occupied the position of Council Whip of Moqhaka in 2016, then took over the Executive mayor role of the Free State municipality from the now MEC of Public Works and Human Settlements in the province, Tshidi Koloi, in 2019. During his shortened tenure at the helm, he oversaw the return of the Mayoral games, in 2019, four years after they were phased out. In his first interview with OFM News, during his first 100 days in office, Phooko said the return of the games, was aimed at “bringing the community together, also to make sure there’s stability and unity”.

Olebogeng Motse / OFM News