By: Sello Theletsane
African National Congress members in the Sekhukhune region of Limpopo have taken the organisation to court over allegations of the parachuting of the mayor.
Party members claim that Stanley Ramaila did not make the shortlist of three names, yet he is the preferred candidate to be mayor of Sekhukhune District Municipality.
According to a letter from Phosa Loots Incorporated directed to the party’s regional leadership, the branch members of Sekhukhune and Vhembe said the regional Executive Committee had nominated three qualified candidates for the position of mayor in line with Resolution 57 of the 52nd National Conference of 2007. Ramaila was not part of the shortlisted candidates.
“The three candidates, Julia Mathebe, Maleke Mokganyetsi, and David Chego were interviewed by the National Executive Committee, which proceeded to recommend that Ms. Julia Mathebe be appointed mayor for the Sekhukhune District Municipality. Our clients, however, have become aware that Mr. Stanley Ramaila (former Mayor of Sekhukhune District Municipality) has been imposed to the position of mayor for the district to be sworn in as mayor by the National Executive Committee of the ANC on the 25th of November 2021,” the letter said.
The lawyers maintained that Ramaila’s appointment is not per Resolution 57 of the 52nd National Conference of 2007 and not per the recommendations by the National Executive Committee.
“We have furthermore been instructed to address this letter to you in regards to the mayorship appointment for the Vhembe District Municipality, and more specifically, the appointment of Nenguda Dowelani. The Regional Executive Committee had nominated three qualified candidates for the position of mayor and in line with Resolution number 57 of the 52nd National Conference of 2007, in which Nenguda Dowelani was not included,” they said.
According to the members, the three candidates were Muhlophe Mihlothi, Thnawanga, and Fridah Nkondo, who were interviewed by the National Executive Committee, which proceeded to recommend that Muhlophe Mihlothi be appointed as Mayor for the Vhembe District Municipality. However, Dowelani was the alleged chosen candidate to lead the municipality.
ANC Youth League member in Vhembe, MJ Wa Azania called on the organisation to abide by its rules and refrain from factional battles. He said the Regional and provincial structures of the ANC were told to nominate three people who will be interviewed and screened before the ANC announces its mayoral candidates.
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“The process was first employed in North West premier-elect Bushy Maape’s appointment and Joburg Mayor late Jolidee Matongo. As the highest decision-making body in between conferences, the ANC National Executive Committee decided that Mayors must be elected in this fashion A B C and members were fine. Now there’s a joyous factional celebration that the same ANC NEC as the highest decision making body in between conferences took a decision that former mayors must be allowed to return to the office and we must all support the call, but the same NEC took a decision on Mayoral guidelines, and that must be rejected,” he said.
MJ Wa Azania added that calls for the selected Mayors to step aside for 30 days conflict with the ANC rules. He said the selection process was widely endorsed during the NEC meeting and those in attendance said it would greatly revamp the calibre of leaders in local government.
“More confusion is caused by the fact that National officials, the National Executive Committee, the Provincial Executive Committee and Regional Executive Committee are aware of the same rules which was a process of selecting three best qualifying candidates. By sticking to this decision, the ANC has a shot at starting to restore its battered public image. The process of selecting candidates was not an ambush process, but a legitimate process which went through the Regional officials, REC, RWC, PEC, PWC and the Committee which was given a responsibility to oversee the establishment of panels,” he said.
The battle for mayoral seats comes as the liberation movement emerges battered and bruised from the local government elections, resulting in the organisation losing control of many municipalities. In Gauteng, the party lost all the big metros to the Democratic Alliance with the help of other parties and has been forced to be in opposition.