Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Mangaung special council meeting to elect new mayor called off due to death threats

Newly elected council speaker Maryke Davies cancelled the meeting due to 'threats to the lives of councillors and officials'.

A special council sitting of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality to elect a new executive mayor has been called off amid threats against some councillors and officials.

Mangaung metro

Councillors from the struggling Free State metro were expected on Thursday to elect a new mayor and the whip of council, but the meeting was cancelled by the newly elected council speaker Maryke Davies.

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In a communique to the councillors, Davies said the meeting was scrapped due to “threats to the lives of councillors and officials” ahead of the council sitting, and “in order to calm the current prevailing situation”.

The speaker said a new date and venue for the meeting will be announced in due course.

Speaker election

Davies, a Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor, was elected council speaker on Wednesday, after 12 African National Congress (ANC) councillors voted with the DA and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) against the ANC’s candidate Bongani Mathea.

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The election of the speaker came after ANC councillor Stefani Lockman-Naidoo stepped down earlier this month as council speaker.

ANC councillors also voted with the DA in September last year, to remove the party’s council whip, Vumile Nikelo, through a motion of no confidence.

Threats of polygraph tests

The ANC in Mangaung on Thursday slammed some of their councillors who voted with opposition parties to elect Davies, accusing them of being “counter-revolutionary”.

Speaking to The Citizen, ANC regional secretary Sabelo Pitso denied reports that the party threatened its councillors with polygraph tests and expulsion.

He said the ANC will meet to discuss a way forward on the matter.

“We still have to get facts around it and take decisions because this matter is not only a matter of ill-discipline, it is equated to being counter-revolutionary which has been applied in this case.

“If you rebel against the ANC, it amounts to being counter-revolutionary and amounts to selling out the people of Mangaung who voted for the ANC and put us in power,” said Pitso.

In January, the ANC recalled its mayor of Mangaung Mxolisi Siyonzana due to his failure to improve service delivery in the metro.

The municipality was placed under administration by national government in April last year, due to “significant financial and service delivery failures”.

Additional reporting by Faizel Patel

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