The ANC in the Free State has read the riot act to its councillors in the Mangaung municipality and instructed them to “correct the situation” after the party’s councillors voted with the opposition to oust mayor Olly Mlamleli on Friday.
The party’s provincial spokesperson, Thabo Meeko, said the councillors were instructed to reinstate Mlamleli as mayor.
On Friday, the opposition in the municipality celebrated the outcome of a secret ballot, sponsored by the Freedom Front Plus, which saw ANC councillors support the vote to remove the embattled mayor.
“They have been instructed to rectify it in terms of the party line. That is not how we remove a mayor. The ANC cannot remove a mayor siding with the opposition,” Meeko said.
The ANC, over the weekend, had a series of meetings regarding the situation in the Mangaung council and has resolved that a task team be set up. It will include the ANC provincial secretary, Paseka Nompondo, and the MEC of the Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Thembeni Ngcangisa, among others.
“We said the process that follows must be in terms of the law,” Meeko said.
It is understood the Mangaung council speaker, Mxolisi Ashford, is due to announce the date for a special meeting, which will make public the outcome of a secret ballot over Mlamleli’s future.
Meeko denied the ANC would go on a witch hunt against the councillors who sided with the opposition, but said action will be taken.
The Mangaung municipality was placed under administration in December 2019.
In February, Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo announced that a financial recovery plan for the municipality had been ineffective due to poor governance and budget management.
News24 reported that the Mangaung municipality’s financial management had been “disastrous” over the past five years, and there was concern about its financial viability, according to local rating agency, Ratings Afrika.
“Mangaung’s financial sustainability, on the other hand, has deteriorated to such a low level that it can be considered seriously unsustainable and perhaps even dysfunctional, as reflected by regular media coverage of its failed service delivery”.