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The ANC delegation sent to address councillors at the Makhado Municipality was led by MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr Rodgers Monama. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

Stop the chaos!

Date: 23 February 2024 By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Infighting within the African National Congress (ANC) and the apparent failure of the Chief Whip and Speaker to bring about order have resulted in yet another meeting of the Makhado Municipal Council being called off. The meeting last Wednesday (14th) had to be postponed after being boycotted by a faction of ANC members.

This was the third consecutive time that a sitting of the Makhado Municipal Council had to be adjourned without any decisions being taken. The same happened on 31 January and 21 December 2023. Much of the blame is put on the shoulders of the newly elected Speaker, Cllr Gumani Mukwevho, who is accused of failing to chair the meetings effectively.

The official opposition in the council, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has accused Mukwevho of failing to comply with the Council Code of Conduct and has called for her resignation as Speaker. They also submitted a motion of no confidence on 5 February.

However, most of the criticism seems to come from the ranks of her own party. Two weeks ago, a group of aggrieved ANC councillors sent a letter of complaint to the ANC’s regional and provincial offices, requesting urgent intervention. In the letter addressed to the Limpopo Provincial Executive Council (PEC), they complain about the “undue interference and disruption” by Cllr Mukwevho, the Chief Whip, Cllr Samson Baloyi, and Jeanet Matumba (Exco member).

Especially Mukwevho has attracted the ire of the ANC faction and is described as “arrogant”. “She does as it pleases herself when the Council is in session. She does not follow the Standing Rules and Order of Council,” they complain in the letter. They also accuse her of interfering with the work of the municipal manager and director.

On Tuesday, 13 February, the ANC sent delegates to Makhado Municipality to address concerned councillors. The delegation was led by the MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs, and Tourism, Mr Rodgers Monama, ANC Vhembe secretary Mr Rudzani Ludere, and ANC Vhembe deputy chairperson Mr Samuel Munyai. However, some councillors were still unhappy with the outcome of the meeting, causing them to boycott the council meeting the following day.

DA councillor in the Makhado Council Ms Glenda Furumele is now calling upon the Corporate Governance Department to intervene, accusing the ANC of failing to resolve their internal issues. “We feel very disappointed about the failure of the council sitting,” said Furumele, adding that this was causing the community to suffer in terms of service delivery. “The MEC must intervene quickly in this situation,” she said.

Cllr Dan Singo from the International Revelation Congress (IRC) expressed his concern, stating, “since we were invited for a special council meeting [on 21 December] till now, nothing is happening. No council sitting [and the] reason behind all this is the division within the ruling party councillors themselves and no service delivery to the community. Let them quickly resolve their issues, and we can start to work as a council,” he said.

Rudzani Ludere, the ANC Vhembe Secretary, confirmed in an interview on Phalaphala FM on 15 February that some ANC councillors had failed to attend the council meeting. “I can confirm that ANC councillors decided not to attend a council meeting without offering an apology. This is considered ill-discipline,” he said. Ludere further stated that the root cause of the problem might be based on the letter of grievances sent to them, which stated that they had differences among themselves. Regarding this, Ludere said that they were dictated to by the ANC constitution. “When they have differences, and we advise them on how to work, we expect them to follow the rules. If they don't, it means they are violating the party rules, which we will have to address,” Ludere said.

Ludere added that some of the issues raised by councillors had been evaluated. “We found that it has been happening since 2021 during the first council meeting. Some individuals stood and disobeyed the ANC rule, claiming they would only obey instructions from the province.” He said that those councillors opposed what the ANC stated. “We are still processing the issue, and what they mentioned in the letter is an internal matter of the party,” Ludere said.

Meanwhile, the DA’s Whip, Cllr Masilo Mpashe, called on the Speaker, Chief Whip, and mayor of Makhado Municipality on Tuesday to address the ongoing failure to meet urgently. This is contained in an official letter delivered to the council.

“Should Makhado Local Municipality not address the ongoing failure to meet as council and promote service delivery by putting the rule of law and the taxpayer first, provincial or national governments may intervene in the municipality under Section 139 of the Constitution. This can lead to the appointment of administrators, the dissolution of the municipal council, or other forms of intervention to address governance deficiencies,” the letter warns. He further urged the Speaker of Makhado Municipality to hold an urgent council meeting within seven days of the delivery of the letter to deal with outstanding matters “or face a court challenge and/or notify COGTA to place the municipality under section 139 (7)”.

Almost simultaneous with the letter’s delivery, the council issued a notice that the 108th special council meeting will take place at 10:00 on 22 February to once again try to consider agenda items.

 

 
 
 

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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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