Heads to roll in municipal hot spots
Heads are expected to roll by the end of next month in Eastern Cape municipalities in which the ANC sees no hope of defusing infighting between councillors, mayors and municipal managers.
In an interview with The Times' sister newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, at the weekend, ANC provincial treasurer Thandiswa Marawu confirmed that delegates to the ANC provincial lekgotla in East London had accepted a recommendation to "redeploy comrades" in municipalities in which political infighting could not be stopped.
ANC spokesman and MEC for local government Mlibo Qoboshiyane would not say who would face the axe but Marawu mentioned both of the province's metros, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela, as municipalities in which infighting was so severe that it affected service delivery.
Marawu also mentioned Mnquma (Butterworth), Mbashe (Dutywa), King Sabata Dalindyebo (Mthatha), Mbizana and Port St Johns.
"There are already recommendations of redeployment. In some instances we feel there is defiance from councillors. In such instances, where there's no hope of harmony in the municipality, we decided on redeployment.
"Sometimes the entire troika fails to see eye to eye, or an executive mayor defies the organisation.
"Disciplinary procedures must take place and after that there will be redeployment of comrades," said Marawu.
In the past few months , the Daily Dispatch has reported that, in Buffalo City, the provincial executive committee was roped in to defuse tension between mayor Zukiswa Ncitha and one of its deployments, municipal manager Andile Fani.
The authenticity of Fani's academic qualifications has come under scrutiny recently, with council recommending that he show original certificates to the mayor.
Fani has refused. He told the Dispatch last week that he feared the certificates would "go missing" but they were available for inspection at his office.
Political tensions simmering since 2011 between Nelson Mandela Bay metro mayor Zamuxolo Wayile and ANC regional chairman Nceba Faku threatened to boil over last year, prompting President Jacob Zuma to intervene in September.
The metro has recently been plagued by service-delivery unrest.
ANC councillors in Mnquma and Mbhashe have regularly voted against party decisions, and eight of 18 municipal councillors were expelled last month.
Earlier this month the Daily Dispatch reported that the Eastern Cape department of local government was making its fourth attempt since 2006 to place Butterworth's Mnquma municipality under administration.
"We regard hotspot municipalities as those with political problems where the council focuses more on infighting than service delivery, which is often affected not necessarily because there's no budget, but due to infighting. By the end of March we want those problems solved," said Marawu.
Qoboshiyane said the ANC wanted to send a strong message that it would not be lenient with non-performers. Marawu said the financial performance of municipalities was also under review.
Qoboshiyane said that, with regard to underspending by the provincial government, "We expect to come up with turnaround strategies hoping that after the first lekgotla the ANC can give direction." - firstname.lastname@example.org.Additional reporting by Mike Loewe