Polokwane - Four Limpopo mayors, reportedly linked to EFF leader Julius Malema, have been recalled from office.
“The ANC provincial executive committee took a decision yesterday (Monday) to recall these mayors,” Limpopo ANC secretary Nocks Seabi told Sapa on Tuesday.
“The ANC made the decision after determining the weaknesses and challenges of the different municipalities. We want to strengthen our performance in municipalities for better service delivery.”
The mayors are Lawrence Mapoulo of the Capricorn district, Joshua Matlou of the Mopani district, Wendy Matemane of Elias Motsoaledi municipality, and Nkosi Mahlake of the Greater Tubatse local municipality.
Seabi said the decision had nothing to do with the four apparently being aligned to Malema and former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale.
“Whether they are friends or not is not an issue to us. For us strengthening performance is the priority.”
On Tuesday, the Sowetan reported that the mayors were removed because they were apparently helping Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters.
Seabi said no interim mayors had been appointed yet.
“Not yet, we are still consulting with structures. Possibly by the end of the week, we will have some people in mind.”
The Democratic Alliance believed the mayors were redeployed elsewhere, following comments Seabi made to eNCA.
eNCA on Tuesday quoted Seabi as saying: “The skills acquired by these comrades (the mayors) over their years of service will not be lost to the organisation as the ANC will ensure that they continue to add value within the ANC...”
The broadcaster reported that a number of municipal speakers and chief whips also faced redeployment, while municipal management teams would be completely restructured.
“The announcement by the ANC’s Limpopo PEC that senior officials... are being moved to improve service delivery is not a solution to the ongoing crisis of poor governance at local government level,” DA MP Kevin Mileham said in a statement.
“We call on the ANC to walk the talk and fire corrupt government officials and not to simply move them elsewhere to continue with their poor track record.”
Mileham said he would ask the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs to seek clarity on where the mayors were being moved.
The SA Municipal Workers' Union questioned why other incompetent mayors in the province were not recalled.
“While we respect the internal decision making processes of the ANC, we remain shocked as to why other mayors were also not recalled since they are worse and are lacking in leadership than those who are being recalled,” the union's Limpopo secretary Simon Mathe said in a statement.
“We wish to be convinced that the decision to recall the four mayors... is not informed by factional tendencies... The ANC should be seen cleaning local government without factional influences.”
Mathe said it was clear the criteria used to recall the mayors was not consistent with policy and was a “serious political problem”.
“However, we hope that they will heed our call and look objectively into all municipalities in the province,” he said.