Decree divides ANC
Just two days before the Tlokwe by-elections, ANC councillors in North West are up in arms over post-dated resignation letters they have been ordered to sign and submit to the party.
The letters were given to the legislature speaker for distribution to councillors, but some have refused to sign, claiming they will not be intimidated into toeing the party line.
"It means ANC councillors cannot object to any instruction even if that instruction is wrong, otherwise the party would simply pull that letter out then tell the councillor he has been fired," said a councillor in the Bojanala district who wanted to remain anonymous.
Other councillors said they will fight to have the letters scrapped.
A mayor who did not wish to be identified said: "How do you work with this axe hanging [over your head].
"With the by-elections this week, we are afraid that should the party fail to do well, it will simply pull out a letter and remove you without a hearing, if it wants to use you as a scapegoat."
Provincial ANC secretary Dakota Legoete said the letters were given to all ANC members in public office.
"Everyone, including Premier Supra Mahumapelo, has to sign that letter.
"That was the resolution of the 8th provincial congress, and that was further discussed and affirmed during the provincial lekgotla two weeks ago," he said.
Legoete said the letter was meant to give the ruling party power to recall any of its representatives who might diverge from ANC directives.
"There are instances in which deployees connive with the opposition to frustrate programmes of the ANC."
He said unhappy councillors would be persuaded to abide by the resolution of the congress.
"The ANC is very patient, it will explain to those who are confused that they have to abide by the resolution," he said.
"When our deployees fail to carry out a mandate, we do not want to struggle to recall them. ANC representatives understand they can be called to serve and can also be recalled."
But sources said this is a plot by the premier to circumvent accounting to the party when he removes people he does not like.
But Legoete has denied this, saying the ANC could not be used to pursue agendas.