ANC factional battles may cost Enoch Mgijima municipality its R20-million grant from National Treasury if it does not appoint a full-time municipal manager next month.
The Komani-based local council has been without a permanent accounting officer since last year’s municipal polls when Lukhanji, Tsolwana and Inkwankca municipalities were amalgamated.
An ongoing political turf war between mayor Lindiwe Gunuza and council speaker Mzoxolo Peter is standing in the way of the appointment.
Gunuza said Treasury had told the municipality that should they fail to appoint a manager by next month they would forfeit the funds for much-needed service delivery in the municipality.
A special council meeting on Wednesday that was supposed to appoint the manager failed to do so because councillors were divided between the mayor and speaker.
Peter’s group is believed to have joined forces with the opposition to intensify their onslaught in opposing Gunuza’s preferred candidate, Thembela Samuel.
It could not be established at the time of writing who the speaker’s preferred candidate was.
Gunuza has also been accused by the UDM and EFF of not following procedures and allegedly flouting rules pertaining to the interviewing panel and shortlisting of candidates.
She has denied this, saying she had played her part in the matter and now the ball was in the speaker’s court.
UDM councillor Mthuthuzeli Hokolo approached the Grahamstown High Court and asked it to intervene, claiming the mayor had flouted processes.
He wanted the court to interdict the municipality against appointing Samuels.
His application was dismissed because national party bosses had not signed off on it, he said.
But now he said he had received the thumbs-up from the Bantu Holomisa-led national executive to approach the court again.
“The mayor lied and said the council agreed on establishing the selection panel when we know that she all by herself appointed this manager and she wants to impose her will on us without following processes and section 54(a) of Municipal Systems Act, which is clear that the job of appointing the manager is the role of council not the mayor alone,” said Hokolo.
Gunuza yesterday said that appointing a permanent municipal manager was an “urgent matter” for service delivery to continue without disturbance.
“You cannot have the mayor stretched between overseeing political and administration wings of the municipality,” she said.
EFF chief whip Luthando Amos laughed this off.
“It is all the mayor’s fault because had she done the right thing and stopped lying and followed correct procedure from the onset we would have had a full-time municipal manager by now.”
Peter could not be reached for comment at the time of writing. — firstname.lastname@example.org