ANC halts mayoral elections in Limpopo

The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has resolved that some outgoing mayors in Limpopo province stay on until disputes related to the qualifications and credentials of this year’s candidates are resolved. 

The province had the highest number of reported disputes in the country, which must be resolved before some mayors are sworn in, Limpopo provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane told the Mail & Guardian.

The inaugural council sitting of the Vhembe district municipality collapsed after ANC members fought over who would be the party’s candidate. 

The M&G has learnt that some ANC members have turned to the Polokwane high court to interdict the party against announcing a mayoral candidate. The matter is expected to be heard on Tuesday, 30 November.

The M&G has also seen a letter from ANC members represented by former treasurer general Mathews Phosa’s legal firm, questioning the validity of mayoral candidates in the  Sekhukhune and Vhembe regions. 

The lawyers’ letter, addressed to Sekhukhune and Vhembe regional secretaries, argues that mayoral candidates Stanley Ramaila and Nenguda Dowelani are not part of the list of candidates submitted to the NEC for interviews

“The three candidates, namely Julia Mathebe, Maleke Mokganyetsi and David Chego, were interviewed by the NEC which proceeded to recommend that Julia Mathebe was appointed as mayor for the Sekhukhune district municipality,” it reads.

“We confirm that the appointment of Stanley Ramaila is not in accordance with resolution number 57 of the 52nd national conference of 2007 and furthermore not in accordance with the recommendations by the NEC.”

The letter proceeds to say that Mihlothi Muhlophe, Mbedzi Thinawanga and Fridah Nkondo were interviewed by the NEC and Mihlothi was recommended as the top pick for the position of Vhembe mayor.

This and other disputes by community members and party structures have led to the decision to hold off on electing new mayors, Lekganyane said. 

“We don’t think there is any member of the ANC who is in a hurry to become a mayor. If one eventually becomes a mayor, you will become a mayor once investigations have been done and you have been cleared and then your organisation will install you as a mayor … If we had approved any name, we wouldn’t have said the status quo must remain. The NEC could not finalise appointments in view of the disputes that we have received. What do we finalise when there is a dispute?” he said.

“People are raising questions on qualifications of people who must be appointed, they are raising questions about the credentials of these people and the ANC cannot just ignore these questions. With 84% of disputes coming from one province the NEC had to exercise diligence and said, ‘We note this programme but we cannot rush.’ We have five years to appoint mayors, we have five years to put chairpersons of committees, but this time we must show the voter there is manifest intention on our part as leadership to listen to their views.

“In the meantime while we’re still dealing with problems that are being raised, the mayor of the last five years will continue as a mayor until these problems are resolved,”  Lekganyane added.

He told the M&G that nationally, Limpopo had recorded the highest number of disputes at 50.7%, followed by the North West with 22%. The Vhembe region has the highest rate nationally with 58%, followed by Sekhukhune with 28%.

The ANC has remained largely dominant in Limpopo province, with its support continuing to grow even as it wanes elsewhere. Limpopo took Mpumalanga’s position as the province with the second-largest number of ANC members. The party received the highest voter support in the province during 1 November local government elections, winning 93% of council seats in all municipalities.

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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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