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ANC councillors ‘embarrass’ own party in Mangaung mayor ouster

Staff Reporter

ANC councillors defied their own party by backing the opposition to oust Mangaung Metro executive mayor Olly Mlamleli in a vote of no confidence passed Friday night.

Close to 10 ANC councillors are believed to have voted with the opposition in support of the motion proposed by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) to remove the mayor over service delivery issues.

ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko said his party – which holds 58 of the 100 seats in the Mangaung Metro council – was embarrassed by the development as it was working hard to fix the situation at the municipality which was placed under administration in December 2019.

“Clearly, the ANC has been defied and embarrassed by its own councillors who voted with the opposition,” Meeko told The Free Stater.

At least 31 councillors voted for Mlamleli’s removal through a secret ballot while 28 were against it.

Eight ballots were spoiled.

Council speaker Mxolisi Siyonzana did not declare the results saying the councillors present at the time of announcing could not form a quorum.

Some councillors are said to have left before the results were announced.

Siyonzana said he was therefore not able to officially declare the results to remove Mlamleli, a suggestion that has been shot down by the opposition.

Meeko would not give much detail on the position of the party, but said the ANC immediately convened a series of meetings to get clarity on what transpired soon after being briefed on the developments in the Mangaung council.

An announcement is expected at the end of the marathon meetings, but Meeko was quick to warn those who defied the party saying they will be punished.

“We will be in a better position to pronounce a way forward . . . we are committing that people will account and stern action will be taken,” he warned.

Meeko said the municipality was on the right track to recovery after Section 139 intervention and the ANC was satisfied with the progress to bring about political stability and improved service delivery.

Mlamleli had survived at least two similar motions brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA), including one in early February.

 

DA caucus leader in the council, Hardie Viviers, said the mayor had to go even though her powers were now limited because the municipality is now under administration.

“The reason why she had to go is that she is the person, in terms of the legislation, with certain obligations and responsibilities to ensure work is done on time,” Viviers said.

“A number of our reports have been coming out late.

“She was supposed to show political leadership and ensure things happened from the political side – nothing happened.

“So, she had to go in order to be held accountable for the work she failed to deliver for the past four years.”

Mlamleli took office in August 2016 and has had a rocky relationship with the opposition which constantly raised concerns over poor service delivery, particularly the late collection of garbage and an unkempt central business district.

Viviers also dismissed the speaker’s argument of a lack of a quorum, saying when the actual vote took place the numbers were sufficient.

“I actually challenged him . . . because when the actual vote took place, the councillors could make a quorum and that’s what is important,” he said.

“They took long to announce the results and some councillors left, but the important thing is they had voted.”

“We want to move forward and we now want to focus on the head of administration,” Viviers added, referring to city manager Tankiso Mea.

“He must also accept responsibility for his failures. We will keep pressurising through our communities. He must also go.”

While the ANC has 58 seats in the Mangaung council, the DA has 27 and the Economic Freedom Fighters nine.

The FF+ and the African Independent Congress have two seats apiece, while the Congress of the People and the Agency for New Agenda have one each.

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