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The Speaker of the Makhado Municipality, Cllr Gumani Mukwevho, who is amidst all the controversy. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

The Speaker must go!

Date: 09 February 2024 By: Kaizer Nengovhela

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Makhado Municipality is calling for the resignation of the Speaker, Cllr Gumani Mukwevho. Their call comes amidst severe factional infighting among ANC councillors, resulting in two council meetings’ having to be called off because of disruptive behaviour. A good example of this was last Wednesday, when the council meeting had to be postponed yet again after councillors had started chanting and singing, making the meeting uncontrollable.

Along with the DA’s call for her resignation, ANC councillors who are not happy with the way in which Mukwevho is conducting herself during meetings have submitted a petition of their grievances to the ANC’s provincial leadership, asking them to intervene. They also asked for Mukwevho’s removal, citing that she failed to chair council meetings effectively twice, once in December and once in January. The division among ANC councillors within the Makhado Municipality is allegedly between those supporting the Speaker, the Chief Whip, and the mayor.

The DA will be submitting a motion of no confidence (MONC) during the council’s next scheduled meeting. They are accusing Mukwevho of using her power to dictate council proceedings.

“The Speaker’s failure to effectively chair council meetings and ensure compliance with the Council Code of Conduct, rules, and orders is detrimental to the effective functioning of Makhado Municipality,” said local DA councillor Glenda Furumele in a media statement.

Furumele explained that on 21 December 2023, during a special council meeting, the novice ANC Speaker had not only failed to apply rule 19 of the Standing Rules of Order, which clearly states that only matters on the agenda may be debated, but had also denied opposition members the opportunity to address the council, and had even proposed an item for the agenda from the Speaker’s chair.

“On 31 January, some of the Speaker’s own cadres in council prevented a sitting from taking place by entering the house but refusing to sign the attendance register. It is clear that ANC factionalism is preventing Makhado Council from functioning and serving the residents of the municipality amidst an escalating water crisis. The DA is confident that the majority of councillors will put the residents of Makhado first by removing a clearly incompetent Speaker who is being used to serve the needs of the ruling party,” said Furumele.

Furumele said that several ANC members might even support their MONC against the Speaker. “Many councillors signed a petition because they were unhappy with how she ran the Council. They want to help the people in our communities. The petition was signed by around 40 councillors, including ANC members. But the Speaker didn't answer it. The Democratic Alliance wrote two letters to her, but she only replied to one,” said Furumele.

The International Revelation Congress (IRC) councillor in the Makhado Municipality, Cllr Dan Singo, said that they were also not happy with the Speaker. He said that the council was not the ANC party and urged the Speaker to step down as even her own party members did not support her.

In the petition submitted to the ANC’s provincial secretary, Mr Vhamusanda Reuben Madadzhe, on 2 February, aggrieved ANC councillors state that the Makhado Municipality has not found itself in this position (where ANC councillors disrupt meetings) since 2000. They state that everything started in 2021, with the situation becoming worse towards the ANC’s national conference. Since then, the petition states, councillors supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa were being bullied and removed from the ANC councillors’ caucus WhatsApp group by the Chief Whip of Makhado, Cllr Sampson Baloyi.

The petition further indicates that former Makhado Mayor Samuel Munyai could not do his work without undue interference and disruption by the three regional executive committee (REC) members, Cllr Gumani Mukwevho (who is the current Speaker), Cllr Sampson Baloyi (Chief Whip), and Cllr Jeaneth Matumba. In the petition, they are accused of sometimes switching off their microphones in the council chambers and then talking loudly, so as to disturb Munyai while he is addressing council agenda issues. They did the same with the former Speaker, who is now the mayor, Cllr Dorcus Mboyi. The petition states that this interference is sowing division among ANC members. She is also accused of writing instructions to the administrative officials, such as the municipal manager and directors, that have financial implications, and of totally disregarding municipal legislation without the knowledge of the mayor or council mandates.

Some of the ANC councillors who are not supporting the Speaker said that they were not satisfied with how the Speaker ran the council. "She uses her power when we agreed on issues during our caucus. But when we go to Council, she changes the agreement by herself … We won't allow her to overrule us,” said some of the aggrieved ANC members, asking the ANC leadership to appoint someone who can run the municipality effectively regarding service delivery to its people.

 

 
 
 

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Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

 
 

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