/ 19 January 2017

Broken promise threatens ANC’s hold on Ekurhuleni, Rustenburg

ANC supporters in Tembisa township.
ANC supporters in Tembisa township.

African Independent Congress (AIC) president Mandla Galo is “no longer sure” the party should be in a coalition with the ANC in Ekurhuleni and Rustenburg because the ruling party’s actions seem to indicate it wants to renege on its promise to move the Matatiele municipality from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.

The AIC’s support saw the ANC take control of the two municipalities after the 2016 local government elections. The AIC’s support hinged on the Matatiele deal brokered between Galo and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

Galo points out that “we met and raised the relocation of Matatiele and they accepted our demand”.

The smaller party has warned it won’t hesitate to withdraw its support for the ANC if, by March  31, the relocation process is not underway.

On sticking by the ANC, Galo said: “That’s the million dollar question … there is a risk that we will withdraw.”

Mantashe said the AIC’s demands were unreasonable because the decision to relocate Matatiele was a fraught and difficult process.

Matatiele was incorporated into the Eastern Cape in 2005 and, since then, the AIC has campaigned to have this decision reversed, in the process launching the new party.

There are signs that the ANC does not intend to keep its word. This week Mantashe said the party was not prepared to bow to AIC pressure to relocate Matatiele, saying the move could set an unwanted precedent that would open a “floodgate” of problems.

Galo was not impressed with Mantashe’s suggestion that relocating Matatiele was a difficult task.

“It’s surprising that they say our demands are unreasonable … moving a municipality requires a Bill tabled by the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal legislatures,” said Galo.

“Once this Bill is approved, it requires a two-thirds majority approval from the National Assembly and ratification in the National Council of Provinces.” The parties are due to discuss the Matatiele demand early next week.