The ANC in the Free State is set to hold a retreat with its party councillors in the Mangaung Metro Council to help improve service delivery to the people of Mangaung which was hit by a series of violent protests.
ANC Free State spokesperson Oupa Khoabane made the announcement on Monday after Mxolisi Siyonzana was officially elected the mayor, to replace Olly Mlamleli who was removed through a vote of no confidence against her last August.
The City of Mangaung had since August been without a mayor which resulted in various protest actions over waste collection which poses life-threatening danger to the people of the province.
Khoabane said the election of Siyonzana was likely to bring calm to the city but the ANC as a party wanted to hold the retreat with all the councillors and give them a new mandate to service the people of Mangaung.
“We want to sharpen and strengthen co-operative governance so that we can provide better service delivery to our people. But our first priority is to work for unity among our councillors. “The collapse of governance in the municipality was due to lack of unity among the councillors. We believe in collective leadership. Mayor Siyonzana will only make achievement with the support of all councillors,” Khoabane said.
Newly appointed speaker Mapaseka Nkoane announced the result of the mayoral race in a full council meeting. Nkoane revealed that Siyonzana – who is believed to have strong ties with suspended ANC secretary- general Ace Magashule – got 57 votes while DA candidate and caucus leader Hardie Viviers only managed to garner 25 votes,
There were five spoiled votes.
After the announcement of the results, ANC councillors broke out in song calling for unity among their ranks.
Siyonzana resigned as speaker of the Metro Council last week after the Free State ANC’s interim committee under Mxolisi Dukwana announced him as the preferred mayoral candidate.
Reacting after the outcome, Viviers said they would now focus on the upcoming local government elections to take over Mangaung. He conceded that the elections happened after the national and provincial ANC structures cracked the whip on their divided members and ordered them to rally behind Siyonzana.
The Metro Council had been without a mayor since a vote of no confidence was passed against fraud and corruption-accused Mlamleli last August.
The battle to remove Mlamleli gained momentum in March last year when the second failed motion of no confidence was made against her.
The opposition parties and some ANC regional leaders in Mangaung – the biggest region in the Free State – had blamed Mlamleli for the municipality’s recent downgrade to junk status by Moody’s rating agency.
Mlamleli was elected executive mayor after the August 2016 national municipal elections – following her stint as Free State MEC for Human Settlements under then premier (Ace) Magashule.
Less than two years in office in June 2018 – the EFF filed its first motion of no confidence against her. In its motion, the party claimed that under Mlamleli’s leadership, the auditor-general gave the municipality “a qualified audit opinion with serious observations”.
The party also claimed that under her leadership, Mangaung Metro Municipality was “technically bankrupt.”