The Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM) council elected Cllr Julia Lata Mathebe as its executive mayor.
Mathebe was elected to the position uncontested during a special council meeting held at Bareki Mall in Groblersdal on February 9.
She takes over from former mayor Stanley Ramaila, who according to the SDM has resigned.
Cllr Kgwediyebotse Chego was chosen as the speaker, former Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality’s mayor Johannes Phokane was appointed as the chief whip. MC Mabatane has been appointed as the chairperson of Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC).
Mathebe who is the former Elias Motsoaledi Municipal mayor defeated Ramaila when she was elected as the chairperson of African National Congress (ANC) Sekhukhune region, in 2021
The Sekhukhune 8th Regional Conference elected Mathebe as chair, deputy chair Minah Bahula, secretary Tala Mathope, deputy secretary Given Moimana and treasurer Eddie Maila.
She is the first female regional chairperson in the province and becomes the first female executive mayor of SDM.
Her election as both regional chairperson and executive mayor was by no means a “box-ticking exercise” to balance the gender parity.
She is bringing to the top position, a wealth of experience, having been in local government since 2000, in various positions.
She had been deputy chairperson of the ANC in the region before she was elected to the top position. Mathebe has over many years earned her political mettle as she grew through the ranks of the party.
Sekhukhune Times understands that when she was mayor at Elias Motsoaledi Municipality, the municipality invested R190 million in the defunct VBS mutual bank.
The municipality managed to withdraw its investment before the mutual bank collapsed.
Upon her election, she announced her councillors to serve as Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs). Mathebe announced the launch of what she termed, “OPERATION TLEMA TEKKIE-RE NWE MEETSE.”
“This is a call to action to all of us, from the Executive Mayor to Member of Mayoral Committee, from ward councillors to municipal officials at every level,” said Mathebe.
She added: “Under OPERATION TLEMA TEKKIE-RE NWE MEETSE, the Executive Mayor herself will join the blue-collar workers at the site, and brave the scorching heat, if that is what it’ll take for the people of Sekhukhune to get water. We will hit the ground running.”
She also outlined key priorities in the next 100 days. They include doing an audit of all major water schemes and projects and decide on the intervention.
Seeking audience with Minister of Water & Sanitation Senzo Mchunu, to fast-track the collaborative process he has already put in place to unlock the De Hoop Dam Scheme.
She also plans to engage local and small business enterprises and Magoši, to ensure water projects proceed seamlessly.