Mbalula orders suspension of Free State mayor seen threatening resident
The time of people doing as they wish in the ANC is gone, says the party’s secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, who has cracked the whip against a Free State mayor captured on video intimidating and threatening a resident.
A video emerged this week showing Xolani Tseletsele, mayor of the Kopanong municipality in the Free State, threatening a resident at their private home, allegedly for airing his frustrations on social media with the state of their local infrastructure.
The videos show Tseletsele, wearing shorts, a white vest and flip-flops, pointing a finger at a man in front of his kids and family. The mayor can also be heard saying the man talks too much on Facebook, that he wants to be noticed and warns him not to do so again.
The mayor is then seen leaving the yard in his red Mercedes Benz V-class.
Mbalula came out guns blazing a day after the video emerged, saying he has instructed the ANC in the Free State to immediately suspend Tseletsele. He said Tseletsele’s conduct was disgusting, brought the ANC into disrepute and went against the renewal of the party.
Mbalula said he had instructed the provincial secretary to suspend Tseletsele’s party membership in line with section 25.57 of the ANC constitution before disciplinary actions can be taken against him.
“The ANC is therefore taking a strong stance on the matter of the mayor in the Free State who came across as insulting community members. Under the circumstances, mayor Tseletsele will have to be suspended with immediate effect by the province,” he said in a short media address on Tuesday.
Mbalula reminded party members of the vow he made after his election in December that the era of ANC members, leaders and public representatives doing as they pleased and displaying arrogance was over, and that swift action will be taken against anyone.
Such behaviour not only taints the integrity of the ANC but also undermines the dignity of the people. Comrade Tseletsele will be held accountable and subjected to the integrity commission and all the other processes that require enforcement of discipline in the structures of the ANCFikile Mbalula, ANC secretary-general
Tseletsele’s actions went directly against this warning he issued, and Mbalula felt he had to send a strong message to party members given the battered image of the ANC and the looming national and provincial election next year.
“Furthermore, it goes against the values of the renewal project, it also goes against the oath public representatives have taken to serve our people, to be modest, to be humble and not to be arrogant. We know what arrogance has done to the brand and the image of the ANC over the years.”
Tseletsele’s conduct was not in line with the oath ANC public representatives took after the 2021 local government elections, where he emphasised the party got 46%, and that there must be prompt action against him.
“Gone are the days of asinavalo, we must have fear for our people. Even if they swear at us, they show their anger at us, we have taken an oath as councillors, public representatives in the last election, where the ANC got 46%. That oath was for real. The time of people doing as they wish and thinking that they are their own bosses, they are not accountable to anyone, is gone.
“The party has directed, through its structures, that the mayor must be recalled immediately and subjected to disciplinary processes for this unbecoming conduct.
“Such behaviour not only taints the integrity of the ANC but also undermines the dignity of the people. Comrade Tseletsele will be held accountable and subjected to the integrity commission and all the other processes that require enforcement of discipline in the structures of the ANC.”
Tseletsele has since released a statement on his Facebook profile, in which he says he has apologised to the man he intimidated and threatened.
“I have apologised to Mr Kalebe and his family. Any comment or politically motivated views to treat me like I have killed or raped or stolen money in any way - let's contest each other on ideas of the revolution,” he wrote.
“I apologised to Mr Kalebe, and I am also going to apologise consistently throughout all interviews and to the organisation I serve and the people I serve, including calling community meetings and apologise if needs be.”
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