ANC to elect new leadership for Amahlathi
The deeply divided ANC-led Amahlathi council will elect a new mayor, speaker and chief whip on Tuesday.
This follows the resignation of former mayor Phatheka Qaba, council chief whip Xhanti Mngxaso and speaker Nokuzola Mlahleki.
The DA announced on Monday that it would support the replacement of Qaba, failing which the party would consider taking legal action if the mayor was not removed on Tuesday.
Two previous council meetings collapsed after some ANC councillors failed to attend the meetings, an absence that DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga described as “sabotage”.
But the ANC’s Amathole officials met with the Oscar Mabuyane-led top five provincial officials in Calata House on Monday afternoon to discuss possible names of people who would be voted into office when a special council meeting convenes on Tuesday.
Troubles at the Stutterheim-based council started a year ago, resulting in service delivery protests in areas such as Cathcart, Keiskammahoek, and more recently Stutterheim and KwaMlungisi township.
ANC Amathole regional secretary Teris Ntuthu said at the heart of the problems are “deeply seated divisions” in the council.
“We had serious problem in Amahlathi for the better part of last year.
“You would remember the Cathcart protests, the Keiskammahoek one and quite recently the Mlungisi protests.
“And [there were] many other challenges from with the council. The leadership of the municipality was not strong enough to deal with these challenges because you won’t be able to provide services if the leadership is unable to lead,” said Ntuthu.
When hundreds of angry Mlungisi residents took to the streets late last year, they were calling for Qaba’s head, accusing her council of hiring only people from areas near Cathcart (where she is from).
The protesters blocked the N6 during the standoff.
e“First and foremost are deep-seated divisions. In each and every council we [REC officials] had to be there to safeguard the council and leadership.
“We have a council that is not focused on the business of council. It was focusing on petty squabbles,” Ntuthu said.
The ANC announced its plan to recall Qaba late last year, but the troika had been in office since. This was until ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi wrote a letter addressed to each of the three affected councillors last Wednesday, instructing them to resign.
“The PEC resolved to recall you from the position as executive mayor of Amahlathi,” the letter to Qaba reads, adding, “therefore this serves to direct you to resign on or before January 11.”
Ngcukayitobi confirmed writing the letter and Ntuthu confirmed to the Dispatch on Monday that both Qaba and Mngxaso have since resigned.
The Dispatch has also seen a letter from Ntuthu advising speaker Nokuzola Mlahleki to resign.
“This process was completed by both the province and the region to ask these comrades that they must resign and this was in December.
“We are meeting with the ANC provincial officials later [on Tuesday] again [on Monday] to finalise names,” said Ntuthu.
“The council is sitting on [Tuesday], and [will] appoint the new troika.”
Bhanga said Amahlathi DA councillor Richard Pickering had written to Mlahleki and confirmed that the DA would consider taking legal action if the mayor remained in office after the Tuesday meeting.
Qaba, Mlahleki and Mngxaso had not responded to questions by print deadline...