BCM ANC bigwigs out in the cold

Several senior BCM councillors fail to make party’s PR list after Monday’s vote

Former council speaker and senior ANC leader Luleka Simon-Ndzele.
Former council speaker and senior ANC leader Luleka Simon-Ndzele.
Image: BUFFALO CITY

Several senior Buffalo City Metro ANC councillors who served in outgoing mayor Xola Pakati’s mayoral committee find themselves in the political wilderness after they failed to make the cut on the metro’s proportional representation list.

The ANC, which won the municipality outright with 61% (214,118 votes), increased its number of PR seats in the council from 15 to 18 after Monday’s local government election.

The metro has 50 PR seats. The DA and the EFF won 13 PR seats a piece, though the DA won 20% of the vote and the EFF just 13%. 

This is a decrease of six PR seats for the DA, which previously had 19 seats, while the EFF was the biggest winner, increasing its PR seats from eight to 13.

The UDM, ACDP, ATM, AIC, PAC and Freedom Front Plus each won a single PR seat.

The ANC’s 18 PR seats means the metro’s infrastructure services head Sindile Toni, special programmes portfolio committee head Xolani Witbooi, development planning head Phumla Nazo, community services head Nontsikelelo Peter and economic development and agencies committee head  Mzwandile Vaaibom, will not return to the new council. Former council speaker and senior ANC leader Luleka Simon-Ndzele did not make it into the top 50 either. 

Councillors are expected to be sworn in over the next few days.

Toni appeared at number 24 on the ANC PR list, Witbooi at 20, Nazo at 23, Peter at 30, while Vaaibom, the metro’s former chief whip, did not even feature in the top 50. 

Of Pakati’s former mayoral committee, only Sakhumzi Caga, who headed the metro’s finance committee, Ntombizandile Mhlola (human settlements) and Amanda Mnyute (health and safety), are making a comeback.

Former corporate services head Bongiwe Sauli has since been elected a ward councillor.

New faces in the ANC PR seats will include MP Princess Faku, who is one of the front-runners for the mayor’s position, ANCYL activist Amanda Ralasi, Malibongwe Mfazwe, BCM’s youth manager Yomelela Tyali, Sixolisiwe Ntsasela, Noma-Africa Fishile, former football club boss Graham Lottering, Vuyokazi Siboyana and former MPL Mninawa Nyusile.

Also returning to the council is Sangweni Matwele, a former chief whip of the metro who did not make the cut after the 2016 municipal polls.

PR councillors from the past term, Pakati, his then deputy Helen Neale-May, former council speaker Humphrey Maxhegwana, former chief whip Mawethu Marata and former infrastructure head Ncedo Kumbaca will complete the party’s PR team in the new council.

Meanwhile, the ANC in the Dr WB Rubusana region and its alliance partners met in East London on Thursday to decide on three candidates whose names will be sent to the province for consideration as mayor.

The party’s regional secretary, Antonio Carels, confirmed the deployment committee was sitting to make the determination.

He declined to comment further, saying it was an internal party matter and that the ANC would comment once the process has been completed.

However, in a statement on Thursday, a faction of the ANCYL said it wanted young people to take the baton in the metro executive.

Their spokesperson, Gcobisa Magalela, said they were rooting for Faku as the mayor and Tyali as her deputy.

They also called for Ralasi, Ntsasela, Mnyute and Siboyana to be included in the new mayoral committee’s economic cluster.

Magalela said: “The ANC Youth League sees it necessary to safeguard the programme of economic emancipation through the positioning of young people as an integral part of the local government composition of the metro executive leadership.”

Another league faction, led by regional convener Asanda Adams, distanced itself from Magalela’s pronouncement.

Adams said: “We do not (have to) fix that which is not broken.”

Regional Sanco spokesperson Phiwe Mehlo said it wanted Faku to don the mayoral chain, while the SA Youth Council’s regional spokesperson, Andisiwe Kumbaca, said it wanted Tyali to be appointed as deputy mayor.

Though this was not officially confirmed by Thursday evening, the Dispatch understands that the ANC and its alliance partners’ deployment committee in the region had decided to recommend Faku, Maxhegwana and Marata as their three preferred candidates for the mayorship.

The names will be sent to the province and later to the ANC’s national executive to decide who becomes the metro’s first citizen.  

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