Mayor under fire for defying ANC request to go to NCOP

2014-06-03 16:18

A district mayor from Mpumalanga is in hot water with the ANC after he turned down a deployment to Parliament.

Nkangala mayor Speedy Mashilo was one of two mayors the ANC decided to redeploy to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) two weeks ago.

This followed the analysis of election results according to which the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was stronger in their areas of jurisdiction and caused damage by reducing the party’s legislature seats.

Unlike Mashilo, Mbombela mayor Cathy Dlamini accepted her redeployment without a fight.

Mpumalanga ANC secretary Lucky Ndinisa said Mashilo’s fate was now in the hands of the provincial executive committee (PEC), which is expected to sit on Thursday.

“The ANC looked at the election trends and then decided that they should be part of a strong contingent to the NCOP. We now have 24 seats [reduced from 27] in the legislature and the trends tell you that Mbombela and Nkangala is where we were hit the hardest,” Ndinisa said.

He added that the ANC was disappointed by Mashilo’s refusal to go to the NCOP.

“Mashilo has a wealth of experience in local government and he was going to be useful in the NCOP. The chairperson and I [Premier David Mabuza] have spoken to him about refusing his deployment and told him that his action weakens the constitutional structure of the ANC. We won’t take kindly to comrades who don’t take deployment,” Ndinisa said.

Ndinisa said it was likely that the PEC would advise Mashilo to resign as mayor and, in that case, he would be redeployed.

Mashilo declined to comment.

The ANC aimed to get 90% of the vote in the province but ended up getting 78.2% – and lost three seats in the 30-member legislature. The EFF took two of the seats, while another went to the other newcomer, the Bushbuckridge Residents’ Association.

Sources told City Press that Mabuza was seething with anger when the PEC met for the first time after the elections. He told them that he had no excuse to give to President Jacob Zuma for the drop in votes from 85.5% in 2009.

In that meeting, said the sources, Mabuza threatened to fire mayors in areas where the EFF had performed well.

The EFF got 41 000 votes in Nkangala, which is almost half of their total of 83 589 votes in the province.

In Mbombela, the EFF got 4.75% of the vote.

Mashilo and Dlamini’s deployment has been widely interpreted as a purge in the anti-Mabuza faction whose members allege that they were being made scapegoats for internal ANC problems that caused defections to the EFF.

The PEC prevented Nkangala – where Mashilo was regional chairperson – to hold an elective conference last year. The region was dissolved and a task team of Mabuza loyalists was appointed.

Before this, former cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Simon Skhosana was widely criticised by the anti-Mabuza faction for allegedly using government to settle political scores when he instituted investigations into Nkangala and Mbombela and left the worst-performing municipalities untouched.

Dlamini’s mistake, it is alleged, was her refusal to let former Cogta head (now state security minister) David Mahlobo and provincial director-general Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize “micro-manage” the financial affairs of Mbombela.

Mbombela municipal manager Xolani Mzobe was fired after Skhosana’s investigation for alleged complicity in tender irregularities.

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