Mangaung council whip voted out through secret ballot
The Patriotic Alliance did not support the motion of no confidence and staged a walkout.
Mangaung council chambers. Photo: Supplied.
Opposition parties in Mangaung, Free State have booted out African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Vumile Nikelo through a secret ballot.
Nikelo was voted out as chief whip of council following his attempts last month to prevent council from sitting.
The motion of no confidence, sponsored by the Democratic Alliance (DA), saw some ANC councillors vote along with opposition parties again on Wednesday.
At least 46 voted for the motion and 38 against. Two abstained from voting, with at least four ballots spoilt.
According to sources inside council, members of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) walked out and did not vote.
“The Freedom Front Plus, DA, Economic Freedom Fighters and others voted except the PA,” said the insider.
Nikelo’s letter to the mayor, speaker and deputy mayor last month was the last straw at the troubled Free State metro.
He riled up opposition parties when he wrote to Speaker Stefani Lockman, Mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana and deputy mayor Mapaseka Mothibi-Nkoane on a Mangaung letterhead, announcing the suspension of council sitting pending the finalisation of ANC regional disciplinary cases.
“He abused his powers and acted outside of the legislation, he had no legal right to do so. More so, his call halting council duties ignored the separation of powers and impeded on service delivery for the people of Mangaung,” said Freedom Front Plus’ Elizabeth Snyman Van Deventer.
The ANC infighting saw its eight councillors – who included Lockman, Mothibi-Nkoane, and Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) chairperson Mpho Mokoakoa – found guilty in July on two counts each for voting along with opposition parties to expose ghost employees.
The interim regional committee (IRC) declared that they faced expulsion, but the provincial structure shot down that disciplinary decision, saying that the IRC did’nt have the power expel anyone.
At least 13 other ANC councillors were ready to hand in resignation letters in solidarity with the eight, and force a potentially catastrophic by-election for the party.
DA caucus chief whip Maryke Davies argued that Nikelo’s actions disregarded the constitution of South Africa and were an attempt to integrate the State and his political party.
“Instead of the council Whip [Nikelo] addressing the factual accusations made against him, he used the opportunity to confirm his loyalty to the ANC and its political agenda. This supported our main point that he is more interested in the internal politics of the ANC and furthering his own personal aspirations within the ANC than serving the council and the residents of Mangaung.
“Yesterday, the opposition united and proved we have the best interest of residents at heart and can secure a better life for all residents of Mangaung,” Davies said in a statement.
A new council chief whip must be elected within seven days.