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ANC expels rebel councillors

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The councillors were only expelled from the party, not council, and could still make “executive decisions”.

ANC regional secretary Webster Dichaba announced on Friday that the ANC in the Frances Baard region had taken the unprecedented decision to expel from the party nine of its councillors from the Sol Plaatje Municipality, with immediate effect. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE ANC in the Northern Cape has indicated that it “will not rest” until its preferred candidate, Patrick Mabilo, is elected as the executive mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality and it has expelled ANC councillors who “brazenly defied” a mandate from the party to vote in Mabilo.

Mabilo was outvoted at a special council meeting on Thursday and fellow ANC councillor Pula Thabane was voted in as mayor with 33 votes in a secret ballot, while Mabilo received 30 votes.

On Friday, ANC regional secretary Webster Dichaba announced that the ANC in the Frances Baard region had taken the “unprecedented” decision to expel from the party nine of its councillors from the Sol Plaatje Municipality, “with immediate effect”.

It is believed that these councillors voted for Thabane, who has been dubbed the “people’s choice”.

Dichaba said that these suspensions stemmed from a disciplinary process initiated pursuant to acts of misconduct committed on July 25, wherein the councillors “colluded with the opposition” to remove the former Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, through “an illegal meeting”.

Dichaba indicated that the councillors had breached the Councillor Deployment Agreement entered into with the ANC, which stated that “councillors would observe discipline, behave honestly and carry out loyalty to the decisions of the ANC caucus and of the ANC”, as well as to “manage his or her public conduct and behaviour in a manner that would uphold the good name and reputation of the ANC and not do anything or say anything that brings or could bring or has the potential to bring, or as a consequence thereof, bring the ANC into disrepute”.

“Eleven councillors – Mr Thabane, Mr Tshite, Ms Johnson, Mr Stout, Mr Lekhathanya, Ms Wapad, Ms Qonga, Ms Monyamane, Ms Koagile and Mr Mampe – were charged with participating in an unlawful and illegal special council meeting to remove an ANC deployee, Magaliso Matika, as executive mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, in contravention of the ANC constitution,” Dichaba said.

“The councillors provoked divisions which impacted negatively on the image of the ANC and compromised the unity of the ANC by voting with the opposition. The councillors participated in factional activities, acted in collaboration with the opposition and colluded and worked with the legal representation of the opposition, in opposition to Matika, in a court matter that had found that the meeting to pass a motion of no confidence in Matika was illegal.”

Dichaba added that the disciplinary hearings were conducted for nine of the eleven councillors during October, after two councillors had requested postponements.

“The disciplinary tribunal found nine of the 11 councillors guilty and they are expelled from the African National Congress with immediate effect,” Dichaba said, adding, however, that the ANC constitution made provisions for the affected councillors to appeal the sanction of expulsion within 21 days.

He clarified the suspensions by saying that the councillors were only expelled from the party, not council, and could still make “executive decisions”.

“It is still premature to talk about possible vacancies (that could be created if the councillors are removed from council), as well as subsequent bi-elections (to fill these positions), as we must now allow due processes to unfold during the next 21 days. However, these councillors can’t represent the party anymore.”

Dichaba remained adamant that the ANC “would not rest” until Mabilo is deployed as mayor.

“Mabilo is a tried and trusted cadre of the ANC, with impeccable credentials. Our mandate is that he must become mayor and we will pursue any means necessary to uphold this mandate. He will be deployed as mayor and not to any other position. He remains our preferred candidate for mayor.”

Shortly after Thursday’s election, Dichaba had stated that they would urgently reconvene to elect a new executive mayor that had “the full backing of the ANC caucus” and pointed out that ANC councillors had “brazenly defied a mandate to vote in Mabilo as the preferred candidate”.

The DA in the Northern Cape said yesterday that the party was “dismayed but not surprised” by the expulsion of the ANC councillors, who it said had “voted for the people’s choice for mayor, Pule Thabane, as opposed to the ANC’s choice of Patrick Mabilo”.

“We had really hoped that, for the sake of stability in Sol Plaatje, the ANC would now stand back and allow the municipality to finally move forward again, after months of political turmoil. Instead, they will now push the municipality into an even further state of limbo with continued infighting,” DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, said.