Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika Picture: Danie van der Lith
Kimberley - Sol Plaatje executive mayor Mangaliso Matika resigned on Monday night following months of digging in his heels.

During a press briefing on Monday night, ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga stated that following engagements with the National Executive Committee (NEC) convener to the province, Collen Maine, as well as the Regional Executive Committee (REC) officials of the Frances Baard region, the party welcomed Matika’s resignation.

“We have been in constant engagement with Matika, the leadership of the REC and branches of the ANC.”

Ngxanga added that in line with the resolution of the 8th Provincial Conference the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) was engaging with national officials regarding the removal of Premier Sylvia Lucas.

He believed that Matika’s resignation was in the “best interests of the community” and would hopefully put an end to the recent unrest and protests in the city.

“We respect Matika for taking the decision that he has taken and know that he will continue to lead the ANC as regional chairperson.

“We would like to thank him for the service and commitment to the people of Sol Plaatje and appreciate the strides made in the electrification of Ivory Park and Diamant Park, the opening of an Internet café and youth centre in Ritchie and the installation of traffic lights around Galeshewe. We truly appreciate the work done by Comrade Matika and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Ngxanga stated that they would ensure that a suitable and capable replacement would be appointed to fill Matika’s shoes.

“The ANC REC will provide the PEC with three names in order of priority for selection as mayor. We appeal to all ANC branches and the community to afford the ANC space for the process to unfold.”

He pointed out that the ANC had never intended to antagonise the community.

“We have by all means possible met all the demands that were brought to us by the community. We have never opted to take the route of antagonising our communities, and we have no intention of doing that.”

Ngxanga added that the judgment passed by Northern Cape High Court Judge President Pule Tlaletsi had confirmed that the Sol Plaatje special council meeting that was held on July 5, that served to remove Matika, was “illegal and of no legal standing”.

Ngxanga also had full confidence in the task team that was appointed to conduct the Section 106 investigation into the affairs of Sol Plaatje Municipality and that it would bring those guilty of any wrongdoing to book.

“We are committed to the fight against corruption and will ensure that anyone, irrespective of the position they hold, if found guilty should suffer the full might of the law. Those who have made allegations are requested to submit the requisite evidence to the team and not to make unsubstantiated allegations.”

The chairperson of Wanya Tsotsi, Pantsi Obusitse, last night applauded Matika for finally stepping down, as well as the intervention of the ANC.

“All of this could have been avoided if they listened to the community. Going to the streets has always been our last resort in finding a solution. All the community wanted to do was to correct the municipality and we appreciate all the efforts of everyone who was united in arriving at this conclusion.”

He admitted, however, that their cause had been overtaken by political faction fighting.

“Whether the premier goes or stays is immaterial to us. Whoever is appointed as the new mayor must have the interest of ratepayers at heart and must remain accountable, especially with regards to how taxpayers’ money is spent. Should the new mayor fail to do that, they must know that the community will stand up for what is right.

“We are all ready to roll up our sleeves and to make this city a better place to live in.”

Obusitse said that further protests were called off on Monday night after Matika’s resignation was announced.

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