E Cape ANC wants harsh punishment for OR Tambo municipality councillors who voted with opposition to oust mayor

Warring factions in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo district municipality resulted in ANC councillors voting with the opposition Democratic Alliance to oust mayor Thokozile Sokanyile during a motion of no confidence on Monday. 

This comes after the ANC in the province last month suspended speaker Xolile Nkompela, deputy mayor Robert Nogumla and former chief whip William Ngozi for refusing to follow an instruction by the provincial executive committee to resign, News24 reported. 

In a statement to the media after the motion of no confidence, provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi said the party noted with “disappointment” and “dismay” the conduct of the ANC councillors who worked with the opposition to remove Sokanyile. 

“We are deeply angered by the conduct of these councillors involved in this matter for their appalling and unacceptable behaviour, which is clearly an act of defiance and a calculated effort to bring shame and embarrassment to the ANC. This is the worst reactionary act that we have ever seen, wherein councillors, who are deployed by the movement, connive with the opposition parties to oust a comrade deployed by the ANC,” he said.

Calling the action an “unforgivable sin”, Ngcukayitobi said it was the ANC that determined how, when and where to deploy its cadres.

He added that the behaviour of the councillors was a clear message to the ANC that the councillors no longer had an interest in serving residents or being ANC members. 

“We will therefore swiftly and decisively invoke our disciplinary processes to deal harshly with this matter. We will institute an inquiry to determine the procedural correctness of this process and its outcome. We shall spare no effort in seeking to determine the motive behind this unacceptable and inexcusable conduct that is clearly designed to hand over the municipality to rogues at all cost, including undermining democratic process and disregarding the wishes of the people,” said Ngcukayitobi. 

On Monday, during his closing address at the extended provincial executive committee meeting, which was attended by former president Thabo Mbeki, provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane said problems in local government that led to poor performance were caused by political, not administrative, leadership. 

He told party members that the situation in the OR Tambo district municipality was “extremely concerning” and “disappointing”, particularly when it was fuelled by comrades who were senior members of the ANC. 

“The PEC must protect the image and integrity of the ANC, as it is being eroded by what is happening in local government. The deployment decisions we make after the upcoming elections will determine whether we raise the bar of leadership in local government or contribute towards the continued deterioration of that critical sphere of government,” said Mabuyane, adding that the PEC would not be blackmailed by any individual or group.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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