The PEC says they have now instructed the REC to begin a process.
The ANC in Mpumalanga will charge the 8 Lekwa councillors who voted with the opposition when they removed mayor Linda Dhlamini during a motion of no confidence brought by the DA.
Dhlamini was removed on Monday 11 February 2020 when the ANC councillors supported the DA motion to have him removed.
ANC acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali said the PEC has given “the machine” to the Gert Sibande REC to begin the process of disciplining the councillors as they did in JS Moroka local municipality, sacking 15 councillors who had last year voted with the DA to remove mayor Thulare Madileng.
Not only Dhlamini was removed during the Lekwa local municipality’s sitting on 10 February but council speaker Khosi Khota also got the boot.
They were in fact removed by 16 councillors in total – 4 from DA, 3 from Civic Voice, 1 EFF and the 8 ANC councillors, which included chief whip Mapaseka Molaba.
The DA motion was submitted in November 2018 over issues that Dhlamini was failing the municipality – with raw sewer flowing to people’s homes daily, escalating Eskom debt, collapsing public infrastructure and issues of wrongful billing or residents’ accounts.
Ntshalintshali said a PEC meeting discussed the issue and permission has now been “granted to the Gert Sibande ANC to charge”.
“It was discussed in the PEC and it was said that let’s charge everybody who had put a motion against whoever, because there had been three motions and the party was never consulted,” said Ntshalintshali.
Dhlamini was recalled on 18 March 2018 but refused to leave the post, charging those who wanted to remove him didn’t have the community support.
The councillors who collaborated with the DA are believed to be aligned Gert Sibande regional leader Muzi Chirwa ahead of a major battle at the ANC’s 13th provincial conference – where Dhlamini and Khota support Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane to be ANC chair.
Chirwa eyes to be elected the provincial secretary on an opposing slate where they want acting chairman Mandla Ndlovu to be the chair instead. A congress will be convened on 27 March 2020.
Ntshalintshali said the reason they could not force Dhlamini to resign after the Gert Sibande ANC recalled him was because of “discussions” that they had soon afterwards while divisions continued in the Standerton municipality.
“As an organisation if there are issues of infighting we try and mediate and give our comrades and opportunity. We brought all the alliance partners and all the stakeholders to say let’s try but unfortunately the divisions within the municipal leadership worsened until this problem we are having now,” she said.
The Gert Sibande ANC said they were shocked and “disappointed” by the two’s removal without considering the higher structure.
“It is common practice and culture in the ANC that the appointment or removal of a mayor are exclusive domain of the higher structures and both the processes are properly communicated after careful consideration and deliberation by higher structures if situations necessitate. However in this instance nothing was communicated by a higher structures which is why we all in shock,” regional spokesman Sabelo Sikhakhane said.
He said appointments to bring “capacity” to the municipality will be made and that those councillors who “transgressed” will be subjected to disciplinary processes.
“The administration of Lekwa will be supported and strengthened urgently to respond to service delivery needs of the community,” he said.
DA councillor Sithi Silosini welcomed the removal of Dhlamimi, saying they hope an interim mayor and speaker will do justice to the troubled municipality.
“The last few years have been really frustrating for the residents of Lekwa as they continue to live under horrible conditions inflicted by the current administration,” Silosini said.
“Residents are still supplied with bad quality water, the roads are full of portholes, raw sewage is flowing directly into the Vaal River and street lights are not maintained at all.
“The incompetence of the mayor and speaker crippled the municipality and rendered the council ineffective and dysfunctional. It is for this reason that the DA saw both their removal is justified,” he said.
(edited by ZK)
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