The African National Congress (ANC) Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) in the North West, had called for calm and respect of the law in the Vryburg-based Naledi Local Municipality. This after the abrupt closure of the municipal offices and the burning of vehicles, over the stand-off in the appointment of a Municipal Manager.
It is believed that the stand-off is between two factions who want their preferred candidate appointed as Municipal Manager. The tense situation has led to the vehicle of the council’s preferred candidate Modisenyane Segapo damaged and partially burned outside his residence, which surprisingly, is next to the Vryburg Police Station. The group also stormed municipal offices, threatened staff, burned a councillor's vehicle and two taxis, leading to the closure of the municipal offices until further notice.
“We are shocked and surprised by what is happening there. We also condemn the action taken by those who don’t respect due process of the law, which has led to services to the community being suspended. The Naledi Municipality is one of the struggling municipalities in the province. There’s no water, jobs, houses, roads and other basic services. We have resolved to go there on Friday, meet with the ANC troika and the regional leadership to understand the situation,” said Hlomane Chauke, ANC IPC Coordinator.
Chauke said the situation is not unique to Naledi and has been happening in other municipalities, where people preferred their candidate who will in return serve their interests with tenders and municipal favours and kickbacks. Naledi is one of the several municipalities in the province that have been placed under administration due to the poor state of governance.
“When you see people fighting about who should be the municipal manager, the first question is what interest do they have in that person? It exposes the level of corruption and mismanagement. It’s not only unique to Naledi, but we have also seen that at other municipalities where people turn to be against the appointment of certain people. This is one of the things that has led to the collapse of many municipalities across the province,” added Chauke.
He said those who are against the appointment of the new Municipal Manager are free to approach the courts, and that they have confidence that due processes were followed by the municipality to select the preferred candidate.
Chauke said the ANC is concerned that some of the party's members might be involved in the stand-off. He added that as the ANC “we want someone who will go there to manage the municipality properly and make a difference to deliver the manifesto of the ANC to the people.”
Meanwhile, South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU) Regional Secretary, Dunny Mosiapoa, called on the provincial government to intervene at the municipality.
“The situation is deteriorating. There’s no stability as we have been having too many acting municipal managers. Even as we are under administration, things are not improving. We have councillors fighting for positions, which affect service delivery. Our salaries are delayed, we were only paid this week Tuesday instead of last week Friday as we have a situation with the Chief Financial Officer. The province must remove all councillors as they are unable to perform such a simple task of appointing someone who met all the requirements,” said Mosiapoa.
Naledi Local Municipality and the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, were unavailable for comment.