Pretoria - The ANC in the Msukaligwa Municipality in Mpumalanga is at risk of losing political power after 14 of its councillors threatened to resign from the 38-seat council amid allegations that the party’s Gert Sibande regional executive committee (REC) is interfering in the running of the municipality.
Disgruntled councillors revealed their intention to relinquish their positions in a letter addressed to the provincial ANC acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, the party’s national deputy secretary Jessie Duarte and acting regional secretary Lina Masina.
The ANC secured 24 seats in the municipality after last year’s municipal polls, declining from the 29 seats it held since 2016. The EFF bagged seven while the DA got four.
The resignation of councillors would force the municipality to go into by-elections, which is likely to see other parties capitalising on the ANC’s disunity to seize political power.
Many more councillors, who have expressed their intention to resign, refused to speak to the Pretoria News.
Regional ANC spokesperson, Aubrey Maboea, yesterday said the party intended to have an audience with the councillors to “listen to what they are saying in terms of threatening the organisation to resign”.
He dismissed as untrue a picture painted by the councillors that the REC was interfering in the municipal affairs. He said the point of contention arose when the REC wanted to recall the executive mayor, council speaker and chief whip, who were appointed into positions on a temporary basis after the November 1 municipal polls.
The interim appointments were made to afford the party time to rectify “glitches made when the ANC was registering its candidates”, he said. “Candidates number one and two, when we were registering them at the IEC, we found that they were candidates number 18 and 19. We therefore have to correct the process,” Maboea said.
The REC decided to recall the interim leaders on January 10 and communicated it to them. The leaders initially accepted the decision, but later refused
to submit resignation letters. “We didn’t say they must resign as councillors
but as mayor, speaker and chief whip, so they can open positions for people approved by the PEC,” Maboea said.
The affected members were executive mayor Angie Mahlalela, council speaker Ncane Mandini, and chief whip Samkelo Buthelezi.
Yesterday, the municipality revealed the names of the mayoral committee on its Facebook page despite the fact that the REC denounced the move, saying it constituted “defiance”.
The REC members said: “After careful debate and discussion, the regional executive committee of the ANC has resolved to make a recommendation that the troika of Msukaligwa be recalled and the membership of the defiant members be suspended with immediate effect and they be subjected to disciplinary processes.”
It was believed that the other councillors threatening to resign were sympathetic to the political troika’s cause.
In the letter, the councillors accused the PEC of failing to ensure that the ANC proportional representation list was implemented as it was; instead, the
PEC instructed the ANC municipal caucus “to vote for people not supposed to be in the list into troika positions”.
They also expressed unhappiness with the alleged interference by the REC, saying Masina instructed them to reconvene council sitting and rescind a decision to institute a forensic probe into a R103 million security contract awarded out of keeping with proper supply chain management processes.
Councillors also bemoaned the state of service delivery in the municipality, saying the electricity network was not maintained leading to load reduction; roads were riddled with potholes;
and alleged the Gert Sibande District Municipality in December made a R82 million advance on behalf of Msukaligwa to a service provider despite the fact that the municipality never requested such an advance.