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Trouble mounts for embattled Mangaung mayor

───   LUCKY NKUYANE 15:42 Wed, 09 Nov 2022

Trouble mounts for embattled Mangaung mayor | News Article
Mangaung Mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana.

The embattled mayor of the cash-strapped Bloemfontein-based Mangaung Metro Municipality in the Free State is set to face a motion of no confidence.

The DA in the council has submitted a motion against Mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana, whom they allege has failed in the project of renewal and revitalisation of the metro's image in terms of administration. The motion against Siyonzana comes as his own party, including an Interim Regional Committee (IRC) and Interim Provincial Committee (IPC), made a move to oust him following a string of maladministration allegations.

ALSO READ: ANC Free State moves to recall Mangaung mayor

The metro, which is the first to be placed under the national government’s care for failure to deliver basic and essential services to residents, has been besieged by allegations of corruption, fraud and maladministration over the years.

ALSO READ: #BreakingNews: Mangaung stripped of its powers by national government

The DA Mangaung Caucus Chairperson in council, David Masoeu, tells OFM News that since Siyonzana took over in November 2021, he made a lot of promises but nothing has changed.

"Service delivery is at its lowest; poor political instability is the order of the day with factional fighting; raw sewage is flowing in stormwater pipes; infrastructure has collapsed; waste collection is at its lowest; and even though the metro was placed under national intervention by the National Treasury, nothing has changed. Since the mayor is the one in charge of the metro, the DA decided that maybe it’s time for him to go," Masoeu adds.

Meanwhile, council speaker Stefanie Lockman-Naidoo confirms to OFM News that such a motion has indeed been submitted. Lockman-Naidoo adds that the motion will be tabled by the end of November in an ordinary council meeting.

The ANC IPC has since sent three names to replace Siyonzana.

According to the Mangaung IRC Spokesperson, Ncamisa Ngxangisa, "a mayor can only be recalled by the NEC, however, I can confirm that the region has already initiated the infant stages of it, hence the IPC - through the convener - was able to share names with the public that we forwarded for consideration". 

It includes Seiso Mohai, Lulama Odile Titi and Gregory Nthatisi. 

"The region is empowered by the constitution of the ANC to give political oversight to the municipality. However, the region doesn’t possess original powers but they are mainly delegated by the IPC, hence we must consult the IPC on matters of placing or recalling deployees for their further processing, ratification or advice.

"However, because the MMM has been declared a metropolitan municipality, the final arbiter in deciding which Mayor is recalled and who will be the incumbent candidate lies with the NEC".

The party in council has 51 members, constituting a slight majority, but with the help of opposition parties such as the Patriotic Alliance (PA) and two others, the ANC could make up 54, beating the opposition. However, if the ANC’s recent experience with internal factional battles in the metro is anything to go by, some party councillors could vote with the opposition, including the DA, to oust Siyonzana.

Earlier this year, the metro failed on two occasions to adopt a budget set to address key issues of service delivery, among others, and recently failed to convene a special council sitting after officials failed to perform basic and necessary duties.

ALSO READ: Troubled metro finally adopt controversial budget

In June 2022, the Auditor-General, Tsakani Maluleke, said the metro spent less than 2% of its infrastructure budget on repairs and maintenance.

"Unmetered consumption, theft and a lack of maintenance resulted in average water losses of 49% and electricity distribution losses of 20%. Service delivery protests increased as residents grew increasingly dissatisfied with pothole-riddled roads, having to go for days without water, and refuse sometimes not being collected for weeks. "Since projects were not completed, the communities’ needs were not addressed, which negatively affected their lives. We continued to identify and report material findings on compliance with legislation at all auditees, including in the area of procurement and contract management," Maluleke added.

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