The very brief term of the Mayor of Tshwane, a tale of bluster and forgery

An absolutely insane story has been unfolding over the last few weeks in South African local politics, and I have to share.

Background: the City of Tshwane is the local authority that governs the national capital Pretoria and surrounds, a conurbation of over 3 million people. Since the last election in 2021, the city council has been hung with no overall majority, so the government is based on unstable coalitions.

After the resignation of the previous mayor, on 28 February the city council elected as the new mayor a Dr Murunwa Makwarela. A mere week later, it was revealed that he had been declared bankrupt in 2015. In South Africa an unrehabilitated bankrupt cannot hold public office, so the city manager asked Makwarela for a certificate from the court showing that he had been rehabilitated (i.e. the bankruptcy terminated). He didn’t provide the certificate, so on Tuesday this week the city manager declared him ineligible and his seat vacant.

Makwarela insisted he had been rehabilitated, that he was fully eligible for office, and that he would sue the city manager for defamation, and so on and on. Oddly, he didn’t produce the certificate that would prove his rehabilitation. Not until yesterday, when he sent a supposed certificate of rehabilitation to the city manager, and was consequently reinstated as mayor. Except that the certificate was a forgery. Not even a good forgery; it was pathetically bad. It had the wrong name for the court that supposedly issued it, and the signature of a judge who didn’t even serve on that court at the time it was supposedly issued.

This morning, the registrar of the court issued a statement saying that the certificate was a forgery (duh). At 12:10 Makwarela tweeted saying that he “remained focused on his work, serving the residents”. At 12:30 he announced he was not talking to the media because of “a family bereavement”. And then at 2pm he announced his resignation. Meanwhile he is under investigation by the DPCI (our sort of “FBI”-equivalent) for forgery.

(This abbreviated story doesn’t even get into the two different resignation letters from the previous mayor, the polygraph machines to find out who voted against their own party, the fact that Makwarela represents a party that only got 0.2% of the vote, and so much more madness. Our politics is tragicomic.)

I can’t even begin to understand how someone could think that they could get away with a pathetically obvious forgery when they were already under intense scrutiny from their political opposition. It boggles the mind.

To add to the comedy, the official mayoral Twitter account has now changed its name to “No Mayor”.

It’s getting hard to find anywhere in the world where it isn’t.

“Hold my beer!”

I live in South Africa but I rarely read local news. I don’t want to become depressed and bitter about a country I love.

This is spectacular, though, to be honest @Elmer_J.Fudd might be right in Rob Ford being slightly ahead of Mr. Makwarela, if only because cocaine dealers are less common in the third world.

But it is close.

George Santos is doing fine as a Representative in the national-level Congress of the United States, and his blatant lies and criminal misdeeds we’re aware of (even just the ones we’re sure about) make your politician look like an amateur slacker.

Wasn’t Santos the Mayor of Simpleton?

I think he was Emperor of Pluto.

Don’t ask me to explain why, but “No Mayor” gave me the hardest, longest laugh I have had in quite a while.

I was immediately reminded of Rob Ford as well. Perhaps Mr. Makwarela forged the document in “one of (his) drunken stupors.”

Perhaps you didn’t hear but George stepped away from Congress to play for the USA in the World Baseball Classic, and he reports that yesterday he pitched a perfect game and hit seven home runs.

Maybe we should send him to play against Kim of North Korea, who got 3 holes-in-one the first time he played a round of golf.

Now someone only needs to legally change their name to “No Mayor” and they are in.

Now, now. It’s not every former Pope who deigns to serve in the lower house of a national legislature.