Komani Karoo Express

Madoda Papiyana elected as new Enoch Mgijima LM executive mayor

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New executive mayor Madoda Papiyana.
New executive mayor Madoda Papiyana.
Photo: Zolile Menzelwa

ANC deputy secretary in the Chris Hani region, Madoda Papiyana was elected as the new mayor of the troubled Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality during a special council meeting on Thursday, December 8. 

He was contested by DA councillor Tokkie Dysel.

This follows the resignation of former executive mayor Thembeka Bunu on Thursday morning, December 8. Bunu was elected mayor following the November 2021 local government elections. Her term in office was mired with service delivery protests due to poor electrical infrastructure including a number of burnt transformers and burst cables. 

Her resignation letter was not read out in council. However, council speaker Noluthando Nqabisa thanked Bunu for her contribution in the governance of the municipality. The vote was conducted in the form of a secret ballot. Dysel received 12 votes while Papiyane got 42 of the 54 votes. 

Papiyana inherits a municipality deep in debt, including a huge Eskom debt of R963 million with an interest of R28.8 million in the last four months.

The municipality has been embroiled in a number of legal battles, including a high court interdict stopping a multimillion rand road construction tender in Ezibeleni. The construction of Fikile Gwadana Drive, a 6.9km stretch of road, was awarded to Makali Plant and Construction at the value of R98 million in November 2021. Enoch Mgijima has been under National Cabinet intervention for the past seven months. The municipality, however, received a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor General. 

Following his nomination, Papiyana thanked Bunu for holding the fort despite the challenges facing the municipality. He said the people of Enoch Mgijima were looking at the councillors for service delivery. He said the agreement between the national intervention team and the local authority had to be assessed so that council can exercise its authority.

Focussing on the Eskom debt, Papiyana said the debt was rising and that directors had to come up with a plan to deal with it. 

“We must deal with the electricity issue and potholes. People who must fill potholes must do that or we must dismiss someone. Work will be done and those who are not part of our plan to deliver services, the you must resign. We will not coexist with people who don’t do their work,” he said.

The council, Papiyana said, was intact and it should remain so with municipal committees sitting. He said decisive steps should be taken to better the municipality. 

“We must make this municipality a better municipality. We must use all our skills to better this municipality. I want to thank the people of Enoch Mgijima for giving me an opportunity to lead them. I have travelled and struggled but was able to rise. With the responsibility given to me, we will rise,” he said. 

Papiyana also announced his mayoral committee as:

  • Nosipho Papiyana will head Community Services;
  • Bunu will lead Integrated planning and economic development;
  • Ongama Adonisi at Human settlements;
  • Special Programmes Unit will be led by Bukiwe Simina;
  • Public safety will be led by Zukiswa Ralane;
  • Unathi Galada at Budget and treasury;
  • Phaphama Madubedube will be at Corporate services; and
  • Engineering and infrastructure by Mhlangabezi Mangcoywa

He said the mayoral committee will be assessed and those who don’t perform will be removed.

Former executive mayor Thembeka Bunu
Former executive mayor Thembeka Bunu

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