Mayor falls foul of ANC court policy

2010-09-13 19:04

Emalahleni - The mayor of the Emalahleni local municipality in Mpumalanga, Linah Malatjie, has been sacked for taking legal action against the ANC.

Malatjie is the first mayor to become a casualty of the party's resolution that members who challenge it in court be dismissed.

Last month, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe released a statement declaring that it was a dismissible offence in the ANC to take the party to court "when all the organisational processes have not been exhausted".

The dismissal letter sent to Malatjie was personally drafted by Mantashe on August 30.

Last Thursday, the ANC in Mpumalanga sent her the letter following her decision to challenge it in court for an internal disciplinary hearing relating to a charge dating back to 2008.

Took time

“We called her to a disciplinary hearing in 2008 for a number of charges, which included voting with the opposition (Democratic Alliance) in a motion that was raised by the ANC.

"As our deployee, she had a duty to vote in favour of motions raised by the ANC.

"Instead, on attending the disciplinary hearing, she challenged the ANC through a court interdict, where she also mentioned that the ANC was divided and had factions in the province,” said Paul Mbenyane, ANC spokesperson in Mpumalanga.

He said the reason the party took this long to dismiss Malatjie was because all the necessary processes had to be completed.

“There are so many processes to be followed before you dismiss a person. We did not want to be dragged through the labour courts for unfair dismissal.

"We had to follow procedures, which takes time,” he explained.

Mbenyane said Malatjie's ANC membership had also been revoked and that the provincial executive committee would convene an urgent meeting to find a replacement for her.

Emalahleni municipal spokesperson Lebo Mofokeng said Malatjie received the dismissal letter last Thursday.

“We are obviously shocked, as the municipality, to receive such news," he said.

"We are not in a position to comment at the present moment. I can only say that we will wait for the ANC to give us a replacement mayor.”

Malatjie could not be found for comment on Friday as her cellphone was off.

Brink of collapse

DA councillor Koos Venter said Malatjie's sacking was a result of infighting.

“Malatjie’s sacking has nothing to do with voting with the opposition or service delivery, but more to do with the fact that she finds herself outside the dominant faction within the ANC.

"Residents of Emalahleni must realise that the real contest is not a choice between rival factions within the ANC, but rather between a party at war with itself,” he said.

He also blamed Malatjie for bringing the municipality to the brink of collapse.

“Under her leadership, the community of Emalahleni is faced with... critical problems on a continual basis," he said.

He said there were continuous power outages and also chronic water shortages lasting up to five days at a time.

The ANC clamped down on the tendency of members to take each other to court following the showdown between the former Limpopo chairperson of the ANC Youth League, Lehlogonolo Masoga, and the league.

Masoga was hauled before the league's national disciplinary committee for violating its code of conduct after he complained that votes were rigged by league president Julius Malema in favour of Frans Moswane during its Limpopo conference in Louis Trichardt in April.

Police had to intervene when violence broke out at the conference.

Masoga was charged with insubordination and called to the disciplinary hearing. Instead, he took the matter to the courts, challenging the legitimacy of the hearing.

Masoga withdrew the case on July 14 when the ANC intervened and, on July 19, he was expelled from the league.