ANC’s Tlokwe councillors forced to sign declaration on vote

2013-02-26 12:37

The ANC wants to regain control of the Tlokwe municipality so badly that it has forced its councillors to sign a declaration that they would vote in favour of its ousted mayor at the council meeting today.

The municipality fell into the hands of the DA in November last year when the councillors passed a motion of no confidence in ousted mayor Maphetle Maphetle, but failed to elect a replacement from their party because of infighting.

President Jacob Zuma and his party deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, led a meeting two weeks ago of the party’s national working committee (NWC) with the 30 wrangling ANC councillors to discuss Maphetle’s reinstatement.

A councillor who attended the meeting, but requested to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, told City Press that they were made to sign a piece of paper declaring support for the motion to reinstate Maphetle when the Tlokwe council sits today.

“They were saying you can’t remove an ANC mayor ... They said this man is not (our) prerogative to remove him. They forgot we are the ones who elected that man in council. They said it’s them who should give us the mandate (to remove the mayor),” said the councillor.

Another councillor said the two-page document, on which ANC councillors signed, had a single paragraph spelling out what should happen today.

A third councillor told City Press it might prove difficult to enforce the declaration as council votes were done through secret ballot.

“They don’t trust us so they said we should sign the declaration. We don’t know what will happen because there are councillors who are being targeted,” said the councillor.

The source said even though some councillors felt the ANC should have taken the matter of Maphetle’s reinstatement to the local communities, they were afraid to voice their views in the meeting with the party’s leadership for fear of being accused of opposing the man the provincial leadership prefers as Tlokwe mayor.

Maphetle refused to comment when City Press contacted him about the matter, and referred queries to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

Last year, Maphetle’s detractors submitted a dossier to Mantashe detailing allegations of corruption and mismanagement against their mayor.

At the time, Mantashe suggested that the allegations against the Maphetle were merely “perceptions of corruption”, and said there was no evidence to back the claims against the axed mayor.

“That concrete evidence is not coming to the fore. We are looking for it, we will dig for it. That is why we are establishing an integrity committee in the ANC so that even if it’s an allegation it must be investigated,” he said in discussions with academics in Soweto.

However, Mantashe refused to answer questions about the Tlokwe declaration.

“I don’t know what they told you so I can’t answer for something you were told in your own way. Don’t try to make me legitimise sources,” he said.

Tlokwe is one of the North West municipalities being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit.

Meanwhile, the DA has approached the High Court in Pretoria ahead of a proposal by the ANC to pass a vote of no confidence in the local mayor, Sapa reported.

The DA said it wanted the court to decide on “irregularities” in the ANC’s attempt to regain power in the municipality.

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