ANC councillors gang up with DA and EFF to topple mayors and speakers

2020-02-18 01:00

‘If we aren’t careful, legislature members will vote with the opposition to remove the premier and leave us embarrassed’

The upcoming Mpumalanga ANC conference is causing pandemonium on the ground as the party’s councillors collude with the opposition to oust mayors and speakers.

ANC councillors in the strife-torn Dr JS Moroka municipality in Siyabuswa and in Lekwa, Standerton, are said to have ganged up with the EFF and the DA to topple their mayors and speakers.

And in Barberton, in the City of Mbombela municipality, there have been service delivery protests, the underlying causes of which can be traced to the provincial conference.

Fifteen ANC councillors in Dr JS Moroka were expelled last week for voting with the EFF to remove mayor Thulare Madileng last October

The fierce contestation, fraught with displays of money and sleaze, has driven even deeper wedges between the two factions led by Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and acting provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu.

The ANC in Mpumalanga has not yet elected a chairperson.

The former chairperson, Deputy President David Mabuza, was elected at the conference at Nasrecin 2017 to national office.

He had been chairperson for 10 years.

Fifteen ANC councillors in Dr JS Moroka were expelled last week for voting with the EFF to remove mayor Thulare Madileng last October.

Madileng’s job was saved by a court decision which ruled that the meeting had not been sanctioned by the speaker.

The 15 councillors are aligned to Mtshweni-Tsipane’s faction.

“These councillors supported [Thami Kubheka] the municipal manager’s efforts to fight corruption. The taps were closed and Speedy Mashilo [Nkangala ANC chairperson] has no resources to campaign for the next conference,” said an insider in the region. Mashilo supports Ndlovu’s campaign, but it is believed that he might want to contest the chairpersonship himself.

Mandla Ndlovu

Mandla Msibi, Mpumalanga’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC, has placed the dysfunctional municipality under administration as a result of deep-rooted instability caused by Madileng’s relentless efforts to fire Kubheka, who is known to be a corruption-buster.

Last Monday, 10 ANC councillors in Lekwa supported the DA’s motion of no confidence against mayor Linda Dlamini and speaker Harriet Khota in a secret ballot.

The DA tabled the motion in November after accusing Dlamini of failing to end sewage spillage into the Vaal River, failing to pay more than R1 billion owing to Rand Water and Eskom and her inability to adjust billing systems.

The ANC Lekwa councillors were fed up with quarrels between Dlamini and Khota. Although the ANC has expelled the councillors in Dr JS Moroka, it might prove difficult to sniff out those who betrayed the party in Lekwa because of the secret vote.

Ndlovu said the provincial executive committee (PEC) was waiting for a report from the Gert Sibande region before taking a decision.

“This cannot be allowed in the ANC,” Ndlovu said, “and, if we are not careful, members of the legislature will vote with the opposition to remove the premier and leave us embarrassed.

If we aren’t careful, legislature members will vote with the opposition to remove the premier and leave us embarrassed
Acting provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu

“This is a serious offence in the ANC. Even if their actions can be linked to the upcoming conference, they must account as individuals on why they acted as they did.”

Under the guise of service delivery concerns, councillors in Emjindini near Barberton have allegedly been inciting residents to protest in the past two weeks.

The residents have, in the main, been demanding that the demarcation board’s decision to amalgamate the Umjindi Local Municipality with the City of Mbombela be reversed.

The councillors have accused Mpumalanga legislature deputy speaker Vusi Mkhatshwa of hindering service delivery.

Mkhatshwa is a foot soldier in Mtshweni-Tsipane’s campaign.

“Councillors must account for service delivery issues. Comrades don’t work honestly here,” Mkhatshwa said.

Not used to contested conferences during Mabuza’s 10-year reign, the coming elective conference has become one of the dirtiest and most unpredictable since 2008.

Allegations of sleaze include Mkhatshwa being framed for having an affair with married legislature member Mohita Latchminarain after purported WhatsApp conversations between the two were emailed to members of the legislature by Latchminarain’s husband, Mahendra.

Mahendra asked Mtshweni-Tsipane to intervene, but he later apologised to Mkhatshwa for muddying his name.

This space is contaminated. There’s chaos everywhere
PEC member

Last month a video recording captured Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, acting provincial secretary and culture, sport and recreation MEC, discussing deals and sensitive departmental matters with an alleged boyfriend, Mbuso Thumbathi.

It was widely circulated. Ntshalintshali is also married and had tried to employ Thumbathi as an adviser.

The recording was welcomed in the Mtshweni-Tsipane camp and has been used to weaken Ndlovu’s campaign.

Ntshalintshali, the former mayor of Emalahleni, is an important member of the camp and her name has been linked to the deputy secretary’s position.

Before this, she accused Ehlanzeni bigwig Ngrayi Ngwenya of having assaulted her following a disagreement about the amalgamation of the eHlanzeni and Bohlabelo regions.

The national disciplinary committee acquitted Ngwenya. Ntshalintshali’s matter is being discussed at Luthuli House.

Earlier this year an unknown businessperson caused a stir when he was captured on video throwing cash at a gathering officiated by Ngwenya in Nkomazi.

Ngwenya responded by issuing a recorded apology.

“This space is contaminated. There’s chaos everywhere,” said a PEC member. Another said that it might be impossible for the elective conference to sit next month because of the taut relations among members.

“Branch general meetings are going to leave us with bruises. They will be very difficult,” he said.

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March 29 2020