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’Kidnapping’ drama at municipal council election

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Dikgatlong Local Municipality narrowly missed becoming a hung municipality after an ANC member is believed to have voted with the opposition to nominate the new Speaker.

ANC councillor Kenny Jacobs. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Dikgatlong Local Municipality narrowly missed becoming a hung municipality after an ANC member is believed to have voted with the opposition to nominate the new Speaker.

DIKGATLONG Local Municipality narrowly missed becoming a hung municipality after an ANC member is believed to have voted with the opposition to nominate the new Speaker.

New councillors were sworn in at Ebenezer Hall in De Beershoogte this week and opposition parties claimed that ANC councillor Kenny Jacobs, whom they had nominated to be the Speaker, was “kidnapped” for two and a half hours before he was forced to withdraw his acceptance.

The ANC won eight seats at Dikgatlong Municipality, while the EFF holds three seats, the PA two and the DA and Dikgatlong Independent Forum were each awarded one seat.

Two ANC councillors – Jacobs and Lethlogonolo Phetlane – were nominated for the position of Speaker.

Opposition councillors stated that Jacobs received eight votes while Phetlane, who was the preferred candidate of the ANC, received seven votes.

“Opposition parties undertook to support each other and not become sell-outs. It was checkmate, where the ANC was caught off guard. We voted for Jacobs by way of a secret ballot as he has a wealth of experience, where he has been serving as councillor since 1995. We will continue to support him,” they said.

They claimed that after the results were released, ANC members “kidnapped” Jacobs.

“They took him away for over two hours and interrogated him while the opposition benches waited outside, as we had to protect our interests. If the council had not concluded by midnight on Tuesday, Dikgatlong Municipality would have become a hung council.”

They added that Jacobs returned in a “state”, where he was “shaking and stuttering”.

“He was placed under duress to read out a letter when the council meeting resumed, to withdraw his nomination, whereupon a second round of voting took place and Phetlane was elected as Speaker, where the votes were nine to six. Therefore there was a Judas Iscariot among us, whom we will find and deal with.”

They indicated that the opposition would continue to fight corruption and ensure that there was transparency at the municipality.

Jacobs meanwhile explained that he was a loyal and disciplined cadre of the ANC.

“I only get my mandate from the ANC. There are no hard feelings,” said Jacobs.

He denied that he was kidnapped and stated that he had merely attended a “family meeting”.

“I only wanted to make them sweat a little. I voluntarily withdrew my nomination as Speaker.”

Opposition councillors voted for ANC member Kenny Jacobs, whom they claim was later forced to withdraw his nomination as Speaker. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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