ANC cracks whip over defiant OR Tambo councillors

ANC
ANC
Image: Supplied / ANC

The ANC has cracked the whip in the troubled OR Tambo district municipality with a major political leadership shake-up when it recalled the deputy mayor, speaker and chief whip on Monday night.

Deputy mayor Robert Nogumla, council speaker Xolile Nkompela and chief whip William Ngozi were demoted for what the ANC provincial executive committee said was defying its instructions.

This is in relation to the secondment of an administrator by co-operative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha to manage the troubled municipality’s day-to-day affairs.

Mayor Thokozile Sokanyile had requested that Nqatha second officials as part of a section 154 intervention after divisions between her and the troika became glaring in June.

One of the reasons was that while in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, Nogumla submitted a damning report to council, saying Sokanyile had signed it.

However, councillors rejected the secondment of Vuyo Mlokoti as the acting municipal manager for three months during a council meeting on Tuesday.

Nqatha’s spokesperson Makhaya Komisa declined to comment on the rejection of Mlokoti’s secondment.

OR Tambo district municipality DA caucus leader, councillor Sithembiso Mabasa said while the council rejected the secondment of Mlokoti, the opposition party wanted the municipality to be placed under provincial government administration instead of only seconding an official.

Nogumla, Nkompela and Ngozi, who were demoted by a special ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) on Monday were immediately disconnected from the virtual meeting where their futures were discussed.

A report on the reconfiguration of the troika tabled at the PEC meeting accused the ANC in the district municipality of having no respect for the authority of ANC, judging by the contempt with which directives have been ignored and directly challenged.

“If left unchallenged, the municipality may set a precedence where organisational decisions are simply ignored with no worries about consequences,” the report read.

“The law and previous practices have been explained time and again to the caucus, but there is continued resistance, which is also political bullying.”

The report recommended that the PEC review its councillors, particularly those who were found to have undermined the authority of the ANC.

“There must be [an] investigation beyond this council leadership, to find our who else is part of this organised defiance and to enforce discipline within our caucus.

“It is also important that the authority of the ANC be emphasised and to deal with the perception that other members can do as they please because they are senior leaders within the organisation.”

In his Monday night address, ANC provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane said there was an orchestrated plan to collapse governance in some municipalities as some of their deployees were not taking instructions from Calata House — but toeing factional lines.

“Provincial government interventions meant at restoring stability and good governance are being deliberately frustrated and rejected by comrades who are hellbent on having their way which, by the way, has nothing to do with the interests of the people and the communities they are elected to serve.

“We will not allow governance to be collapsed for self-serving motives and factional interests at the expense of our people.”

Mabuyane also criticised what he said was a plan to form a breakaway party led by a grouping calling itself the radical economic transformation (RET) grouping.

He described the RET faction as the “highest form of ill-discipline that is hell-bent at undermining the leadership of the ANC elected at the 54th national conference”, which he said “should be confronted and defeated”.

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