Mpumalanga Cogta MEC declares vacancies in Nkomazi municipality to end a six-month reign of renegade mayor

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Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC and ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu. Photo by Oris Mnisi
Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC and ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu. Photo by Oris Mnisi


Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Mandla Ndlovu has decided to approach the Electoral Commission of SA to declare vacancies of mayor and Speaker in the Nkomazi Local Municipality following six months of resistance.

Nkomazi Speaker Simphiwe Mashele has vehemently refused to obey the ANC’s instruction to declare the vacancies after he and mayor Johan Mkhatshwa orchestrated a power take-over by mobilising some ANC and EFF councillors to vote them into the positions after the November 1 local government elections.

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The ANC’s national executive committee had preferred Phindile Magagula to be mayor after conducting interviews.

Ndlovu wrote to Mashele on Wednesday last week.

In a letter, which City Press has seen, Ndlovu wrote:

I, Mandla Padney Ndlovu, in my capacity as MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the province hereby notify you that I have since written to the chief electoral officer declaring vacancies within the municipal council of Nkomazi Local Municipality in terms of the provision item 18(1)(c) of schedule 1 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998, which states inter alia as follows: if the municipal manager of the municipality concerned does not inform the chief electoral officer of the vacancy referred to in paragraph (a) the MEC for local government in the province must inform the chief electoral officer of the vacancy within 14 days where the municipal manager does not.

Two acting municipal managers sided with Mkhatshwa and refused to declare the vacancies when the ANC asked them to do so.

Mkhatshwa has been mayor since November 23. On December 5, he appointed his mayoral committee and rewarded EFF councillor Bandi Shongwe, who is the party’s Ehlanzeni district secretary, with a position as the member of the mayoral committee for water.

The ANC has since dismissed Mkhatshwa and five ANC councillors who supported him, but they have appealed the decision and clung to power.

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Mkhatshwa’s defiance stemmed from the infighting between ANC factions. Before the provincial conference sat in April, Mkhatshwa’s Ngci faction supported him to stay in the position when it appeared that they were losing power to Ndlovu’s Focus faction.

Ndlovu was elected Mpumalanga ANC chairperson in April. The conference ended the dominance of the Ngci faction since 2008 when Deputy President David Mabuza was elected Mpumalanga chairperson.

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In the build-up to the conference, Premier Refilwe Mtshweni weakened the Ngci faction when she reshuffled her cabinet in 2020 and removed all MECs loyal to Mabuza.

The ANC added to the injury when it slapped former Ehlanzeni regional chairperson Ngrayi Ngwenya with a five-year suspension after he was found guilty of charges relating to his support of former president Jacob Zuma not to be incarcerated.

Nkomazi is Ngwenya’s stronghold and it is believed that he is planning to form a new political party.


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