If he is not capable, he must just leave – Katlehong residents rise up against mayor Masina

2019-10-21 00:02

The ANC in Ekurhuleni has sent a stern warning to suspended ward councilor Nkosinathi Tshabalala who they believe is the instigator of the protest action calling for mayor Mzwandile Masina to be axed.

Tshabalala’s involvement in the service delivery protest last Monday was in violation of the conditions of his suspension conditions and could see him being permanently removed from the party.

According to reports, he was the one who led a group of community members from Siphamandla in Katlehong, and read out the memorandum of demands which included the call to suspend Masina for the “wrongful” suspension of former municipal manager Joe Mojapelo.

The memorandum calls for the disbandment of the provincial executive committee (PEC) and the suspension of Ekurhuleni council speaker Patricia Khumalo.

“We wish to caution the ANC branch executive committee of ward 60 that if they persist in defying the leadership collective on this decision the REC [regional executive committee] will be left with no choice but to act decisively in the interest of defending the hegemony of the ANC in branch and the region,” the ruling party said.

The ANC believes that genuine service delivery issues are being used to distract the party from its core mandate of serving the people of Ekurhuleni.

Tshabalala’s resignation from his position as ward 60 councillor is deemed as a ploy to “to oust the ANC from power” and a “collaboration with other forces of darkness and the REC of ward 60” according to the ANC.

The community’s main concern is the lack of housing in their area.

He resigned from the council and from the party’s regional executive committee and stated that he wanted to join the community in fighting corruption in August.

He was later suspended under rule 25 of the ANC Constitution and its relevant sub sections pending the disciplinary hearing.

In the meantime he is forbidden from organising or mobilise ANC members to participate in protest action or making any public comments or statements on any of the matters concerning the party.

“We urge the ANC disciplinary committee to speedily conclude its work so that we can give political direction in the ward. We will soon announce practical steps that will result in processing the new candidate as we prepare for the by-election in the ward in due cause,” the party said.

Shabalala has since approached the courts to challenge his suspension by the party, which he said was irregular as he was never given reasons for the step.

Siphamandla service delivery woes

Residents of Siphamandla in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, believe they have been neglected and have demanded that the ruling party step in to ensure that their service delivery woes are dealt with.

Convener for the community members, Ayanda Vena, told City Press that they had an initial protest to the mayor’s office in August.

However, they did not feel as though the matter was treated with urgency.

The community’s main concern is the lack of housing in their area.

The memorandum states that the department of human settlements has only built 35 incomplete houses since the project to develop the Siphamandla section was started two years ago.

The community said the project was halted “without an explanation” from the local government.

The group claims that even those who have already been issued with approvals for housing subsidies had been abandoned.

After handing over their memorandum, the residents served the manager in the office of the secretary-general, Justice Pitso, with their “approved” subsidies and proof that they were declined houses due to the cancelled subsidies.

They are expecting a response from the ANC within 14 days and Vena says they will be taking further steps if they are ignored.

“We will have to have a community gathering to decide what to do next. We will mobilise those who do not have water, housing; [and there is] no tar road and we are expecting the ward 60 caretaker councilor to also assist us,” Vena said.

He is going to end his term without bettering the lives of ward 60 residents; we will still have nothing.

Khehla Madlala has been appointed to act as the ward 60 councillor until such time a new councillor is elected.

During the demonstration, resident held placards calling for the removal of Masina.

Vena explained that protestors want the mayor to be axed because of his lack of urgency regarding their plight.

“He has to find a way forward because he is a leader. If he cannot provide services, we do not see how he has uplifted the community and he never takes any action. He is going to end his term without bettering the lives of ward 60 residents; we will still have nothing. So that is why we are saying, if he is not capable, he must just leave. We need to find a good replacement for him,” according to Vena.

She questioned why other wards were better off saying that there seems to be very little consideration in allocating funds towards improving the infrastructure in Siphamandla.

“The budget was just released and that makes me wonder why we have not been prioritised. The money is always used by other wards – we are seeing how people are getting services but we are always last on the list,” she said.

The memorandum highlights the metro’s failure to implement the integrated development plan priorities for this ward.

The plan is a process through which the metro had to prepare a strategic development plan which extends over a five-year period.

This then guides and informs all planning, budgeting, management and decision-making processes in the municipality.

Ekurhuleni residents had the opportunity to attend consultations to discuss the R50 billion project in April.

Queenin Masaubi

Political journalist | City Press

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May 24 2020