The ANC in Mpumalanga has dismissed six councillors who are accused of handing the reins of the Mkhondo Local Municipality in Piet Retief to independents and opposition parties.
The mutinying councillors were dismissed early this year, but appealed the decision of the provincial disciplinary committee.
However, their appeal was dismissed, the provincial executive committee (PEC) announced.
Former Mkhondo mayor Vusi Motha and five councillors – Mhlaliseni Yende, Bongani Mchunu, Fikile Mthethwa, Thembelihle Gama and Sikhumbuzo Zulu – resigned after the local government elections on November 1 2021 in protest of what they felt was the “factional” nomination of councillors.
They withdrew their resignations, but when it was time for voting to elect a mayor, speaker and chief whip, they allegedly used their conscience.
The outcome of the vote was that the new mayor was independent candidate Mthokozisi Simelane, the new council speaker was Mduduzi Dlamini from the African Transformation Movement and the chief whip was Siphesihle Mkhwanazi from the EFF.
This was a historic moment as the ANC lost power over the municipality for the first time since democracy. The ANC got an outright majority of 54.04% after the election, but that was not enough to give it automatic leadership. This was a massive drop from 76.41% in 2016.
Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Ngelosi Ndlovu said:
“We call upon our members and our leaders to emulate good examples of conduct wherever they are, and to respect the communities that have given us an opportunity to lead and represent them. We must work for our communities with humility, dignity, respect, selflessness, commitment and dedication. We must jealously safeguard the interests of the people who voted for us.”
The councillors felt that the ANC officials were discriminating against comrades who did not belong to the Focus faction.
They were concerned that then acting chairperson Mandla Ndlovu and acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali were pushing the Focus agenda. Mandla was eventually elected provincial ANC chairperson in April this year at the provincial conference.
The ANC found itself having to deal with mutineers from within its own ranks in other municipalities, such as Nkomazi (Malalane) and Msukaligwa (Ermelo).
In Nkomazi, disgruntled councillors voted for former mayor Johan Mkhatshwa against the ANC national executive committee’s decision to have another mayor. Mkhatshwa clung on to the mayorship for eight months until he was removed and also dismissed from the ANC together with five councillors who teamed up with the EFF to elect him.
In Msukaligwa, a mayor, speaker and chief whip were appointed on a temporary basis because there was mix-up of names to the Electoral Commission of South Africa. When they had to leave, they refused and claimed that they were being targeted because they had uncovered corruption.