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Infighting ‘rocking boat’ at Sol

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“The decision to reshuffle Ngoma was taken by the REC as it is this body’s prerogative to improve service delivery”

WHILE the Sol Plaatje executive mayor has tightened the reins on councillors to ensure that they do their work, political infighting is continuing at the local municipality after the former mayor allegedly ordered the removal of the ANC chief whip.

ANC branch members in the Frances Baard region were apparently shocked when their chairperson, and the city’s former mayor, Mangaliso Matika, allegedly ordered the removal of the ANC chief whip at the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Charles Ngoma.

Matika allegedly called for Ngoma’s removal during an emergency caucus meeting at the ANC regional office earlier this week.

According to some of the members who attended the meeting, Matika motivated the removal of Ngoma under the guise of attempts by the Regional Executive Committee (REC) to improve service delivery.

Matika has further been accused of also setting his sights on the current executive mayor, Patrick Mabilo, as well as the Speaker, Ingrid Koopman.

Ngoma is believed to be a favourite among the branches to oppose Matika in the contest for Frances Baard regional chairperson during the next elections.

According to inside sources, Matika promised to announce the new chief whip, to replace Ngoma, on Monday.

The branch members said they were surprised when the emergency caucus meeting was not called by Ngoma himself, as per ANC policy, or by the regional secretary, Wende Marekwa.

The two key people, Ngoma and Marekwa, were apparently also not part of the meeting.

According to Ngoma, the meeting was not communicated to him and neither was he informed of the outcome.

“I would not like to comment at this stage. I am not aware of the meeting or of the alleged outcomes,” he said yesterday. “It is for the leadership to decide whether I should resign or not. But if the ANC says I must, I will do so as a disciplined cadre.”

Matika refused to comment on the matter and referred all enquiries to the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

Marekwa said yesterday that he had not attended the meeting due to ANC-related commitments and did not know why Ngoma was not present. He pointed out, however, that Matika had the right to call an urgent caucus meeting as he gave guidance to the branch level.

“The decision to reshuffle Ngoma was taken by the REC as it is this body’s prerogative to improve service delivery. The REC needs to improve the performance of councillors. Councillors need to start responding positively to service delivery,” said Marekwa.

According to Marekwa, the option was looked at as it is believed that Ngoma does not have enough time to concentrate on service delivery.

“Apart from being the ANC chief whip, Ngoma is the Ward 12 councillor as well as a full-time official at the Northern Cape Department of Education.”

Marekwa said the decision to redeploy Ngoma, however, had not yet been finalised as the REC still had to discuss it with the PEC.

All eyes are now on the PEC to see whether the motion will be escalated to them, and what the outcome will be.

According to ANC policy the motion has to be adopted by the PEC, which has the power to deploy and redeploy.

“We are ANC branch members and feel helpless to do anything about what is happening,” an ANC member who attended the meeting said yesterday.

“Matika is our chairperson but he did not ask for our input in this matter and instead just made the announcement. As disciplined cadres, no one is allowed to speak after him and he knows that.”

The member stated that an announcement of this nature should first have been a recommendation from the Regional Working Committee (RWC), caucused at the meeting, and then escalated to the PEC for adoption.

“We want to see whether Matika will be disciplined by the ANC for making the announcement before it has even been finalised by the party. Or is he above the ANC?”

“We will wait for the ANC to pronounce itself and if it is found that he was at fault, he will have to reverse the decision,” said another member who attended the meeting.

The ANC in the Province said yesterday that it had raised the matter with Matika and he had denied any attempts to remove Ngoma.

“The ANC urges its members to rather focus on service delivery instead of stoking disunity in the Sol Plaatje Municipality. The PEC raised this matter with Matika and he unequivocally denied that he actively sought to remove Ngoma as chief whip,” said ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga.

“The Sol Plaatje Municipality is faced with serious service delivery challenges. Now is not the time to rock the boat by effecting changes in the whippery, the executive committee or the mayor. All our energies should be dedicated to solving the service delivery issues that affect the city,” concluded Ngxanga.