The ANC this week moved to clear its house ahead of the elections next year by removing controversial members from its structures and election lists, including those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.
This unprecedented development led to the sacking of seven mayors by the ANC in Limpopo. They include the mayors of Lepelle-Nkumpi, Giyani, Greater Fetakgomo-Tubatse, Ephraim Mogale, Collins Chabane and Makhado.
ANC deputy provincial chairperson Florence Radzilani opted to resign as Vhembe District Municipality mayor with immediate effect.
Embattled ANC Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza, who is deeply implicated in the VBS scandal, stepped aside from his position.
In Gauteng, the provincial executive committee (PEC) resolved to recommend to the integrity committee that the mayors of the West Rand District Municipality and Merafong Local Municipality, who invested money in VBS Bank, be investigated.
The PEC instructed the integrity committee to deal with the matter expeditiously as this was in its best interest and that of West Rand mayor Boyce Maneli and Merafong mayor Maphefo Mogale-Letsie, given that their names were included in the nomination list.
Owing to separate controversies, the Gauteng ANC excluded former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and erstwhile chief whip Brian Hlongwa from its election list.
The two are long-serving ANC public representatives, whose omission also arose from unrelenting public pressure.
Mahlangu resigned as MEC after she was implicated in the tragic death of more than 100 mentally ill patients after they were removed from Life Esidimeni facilities in the province.
Hlongwa has been under a cloud of corruption allegations for many years, but is yet to be charged.
ANC Gauteng chairperson David Makhura said: “The ANC in Gauteng will ensure that all the names that will appear on its provincial list are men and women with high ethics … and people with no dark clouds of corruption lingering over them. We will not have a member on the list with question marks hanging over them.”
His deputy, Panyaza Lesufi, said that the party’s standing was that officials who are to represent the party in the provincial and national legislatures ahead of next year’s general elections ought to be “the best that the party can put forward”.
Limpopo ANC secretary Soviet Lekganyane told City Press that the sacked mayors were not honest and displayed arrogance.
“The constitution of the ANC requires its members to be honest. The members of the ANC have not been honest to the organisation. They have not been honest in the sense that, after those investments were made, not even one of them shared that experience with the ANC until it became a scandal,” he said.
Lekganyane admitted that the ANC was expecting some of its members to be disappointed with its decision to remove the mayors.
“We expect people to be disappointed. We are disappointed that we had to remove people the way we did. We had to act in the interest of the organisation. Members of the ANC must follow the organisation, not individuals.”
Lekganyane reiterated that the decisions to invest with VBS were foolish.
“You can’t have a situation where you have municipal managers and [chief financial officers] who have master’s degrees and are registered with professional bodies and they behave that way. That was very stupid.”
He said the ANC watched with concern the cries of old women who were queuing in the blistering winter cold when they were told that they had to go and withdraw their money because VBS was having difficulties.