Most councillors in no-show for Metsimaholo's first council meeting

2017-12-12 19:26
Metsimaholo Municipality members voting for the by-elections on November 29, 2017 in Sasolburg. (File, Gallo Images)

Metsimaholo Municipality members voting for the by-elections on November 29, 2017 in Sasolburg. (File, Gallo Images)

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Sasolburg – The anticipated first council meeting of the Metsimaholo Municipality in the Free State did not go ahead on Tuesday afternoon after 22 of the 42 elected councillors failed to show up for the meeting.

The councillors were expected to be sworn in and a new mayor elected after a second round of by-elections in the troubled municipality.

The second round of by-elections last month confirmed that the municipality was in the same position it was after last year’s local government elections, with no outright winner.

Elections had been marred by allegations of the polls being rigged.

News24 previously reported that the by-elections in the pothole-riddled Metsimaholo Municipality took place following the dissolution of the local coalition council in July, after it failed to fulfil its obligation to approve a 2017/2018 budget – a constitutional mandate of the council.

The situation was further exacerbated by coalition-backed Mayor Sello Hlasa's sudden crossover to the ANC.

Following Tuesday’s no show by the majority of elected councillors, the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they noted the non-attendance of the ANC alliance at the council meeting.

"This led to the council meeting not forming a quorum. The ANC and SACP both stayed away to allow the meeting to be postponed until next week Tuesday," he said.

"This is because the two organisations in Metsimaholo represent two factions of the ANC and thus have agreed to await the outcomes of their national conference this Sunday. It is no secret that SACP belongs to [Cyril] Ramaphosa's campaign and the Metsimaholo ANC is with [Nkosazana] Dlamini-Zuma," Ndlozi said.

'They are not even answering their phones'

He said the EFF was ready to lead a stable and all-inclusive government in the municipality and it intended on engaging with all the parties to avoid a re-rerun of elections.

"The people of Metsimaholo deserve a stable, functional, accessible and accountable municipality and should not be engaged in permanent elections," Ndlozi said.

The SACP’s three councillors failed to show up at the council meeting on Tuesday, but Palesa Dube, a proportional representative (PR) councillor for the SACP, said she was very disappointed that they failed to attend the meeting.

"They are not here. They are not even answering their phones, so I don’t know what is happening. Last I heard from them, they were expected to come," she said.

READ: SACP plays hard ball with ANC on Metsimaholo

"I am very angry. They can’t just decide not to come," Dube said.

The DA’s James Selfe said he had been informed about the council meeting not continuing.

"I imagine the parties need slightly more time for negotiations and that’s why some of them stayed away," he said.

ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko said he also suspected the parties needed more time to negotiate and that’s why some stayed away. He couldn’t confirm if or how many ANC members stayed away.

"However, as the ANC in the province, we are expecting everyone to attend council meetings," he said.

The council is expected to meet again within seven days.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff

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