/ 27 April 2005

ANC ‘redeploys’ Emfuleni mayor

Emfuleni local municipality mayor Johnny Thabane and two other senior officials will be replaced by a ”political collective”, the African National Congress in Gauteng said on Tuesday.

”We did not — yesterday, or today — fire the mayor. He is still the mayor. We will introduce changes and redeploy the mayor,” the party’s Gauteng chairperson and provincial premier, Mbhazima Shilowa, said.

The Emfuleni local municipality includes Vereeniging, Sebokeng, Vanderbijlpark and the Vaal area.

Shilowa told a media briefing in Vereeniging that for some time the ANC Gauteng leadership had noted with concern the level of deterioration of the council’s ability and capacity to continue serving the people.

”Immediate intervention is needed to further strengthen the council. But the new process has to be followed, with speed, but without recklessness.”

Thabane would be replaced by Peter Skosana, the ANC’s chairperson in the Sedibeng region. The municipality’s chief whip Kaizer Manzi would be replaced by Thulani Kunene, while Yunus Chamda would make way for speaker Kedibone Mogotsi.

Skosana is currently the mayor of the Sedibeng district municipality. He was the province’s MEC for sport, recreation and culture between 1994 and 1999.

”We need to strengthen our institutional capacity and deal with the issue facing this municipality,” Shilowa said, adding that Thabane would be redeployed.

”There are many challenges facing this municipality, but changes will strengthen it,” he said.

He said the Sedibeng district — Emfuleni in particular — was one of the most challenging districts, where poverty was rife and the efforts of government was to ensure that it improved the quality of people’s lives.

Shilowa said the ANC Gauteng leadership, as part of its ongoing programme to evaluate progress in the implementation of government’s programme of action, had noted continuous weaknesses and problems in this municipality.

”The focus is on improving the quality of life of our people, good governance in partnership with our people, management of the finances of council, institutional transformation, political management and improved public participation.”

Shilowa said that in view of the untenable situation in which the municipality found itself, and in consideration of a thorough process of consultation by the ANC, it was no longer possible for the Emfuleni municipality to function properly.

It became evident that ”we have to act now to ensure that we put in place a new political leadership that can respond to the challenges faced by the Emfuleni municipality”.

”We need to ensure effective delivery of basic services and respond positively to social and economic challenges and to work as part of a collective ANC to lead the communities we come from,” Shilowa said.

He said continuous assessments were done in 2003/4/5 and it was necessary to make certain changes.

”Mayor Thabane has done his best in certain areas — that does not mean they have not performed — they have performed to the best of their ability, but areas like budgets, communications… need to be strengthened.

”We need to deal with these challenges. Once the ANC has gone through the process, Skosana will become mayor.”

Skosana may include, exclude, or deploy a combination of both from the current group of councillors.

”He will go through their strengths and weaknesses. The issue is not all about who he leaves out but what team we have to do the work.”

Mlungisi Hlongwane would be appointed as executive mayor, to fill the post left vacant by Skosana, Shilowa said. – Sapa