BCM chairman Paul Moremi and ANC election co-ordinator Matthews Wolmarans flanked by Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou, Amos Mataboge, Sheila Mabale-Huma, Ofentse Kombe as well as councillor Gwegwe. Photo: ANA

Rustenburg - The African National Congress (ANC) consolidated its power in Rustenburg in the North West by signing a coalition agreement with the Botho Community Movement (BCM) on Monday.

“BCM never demanded money, they wanted the development of Boitekong,” ANC local election co-ordinator and Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou told reporters in Boitekong.

He said the agreement was reached on Sunday.

The agreement consolidated the ANC’s power in the Rustenburg local municipality, which was in a danger of being shaken by a coalition of opposition parties.

On Friday the ANC scored a shock victory to retain power in Rustenburg at the council’s first sitting since the local government elections.

The ANC won 43 seats in the municipal election and went into Friday’s meeting with the support of the African Independent Congress (AIC), bringing their support in seats to 44 in the 89-seat council. The opposition coalition had a total of 45 seats, which would have seen them take control of the council. However, the ANC managed to win crucial positions in the council on Friday, as opposition members broke ranks to give the ANC a slim majority.

Sheila Mabale-Huma from the ANC was voted in as the Speaker with 46 votes against 43 cast for Bosa Ledwaba of the Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD).

Mpho Khunou was voted in as the mayor with the same number of votes, beating Rocky Malebana-Metsing of the F4SD, and Lekgotla Mataboge was voted in as the chief whip of council with 46 votes against 43 cast for Agnes Tsamai of the Democratic Alliance.

Opposition parties were shocked by the results. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) general secretary Godrich Gardee, who was at the council meeting, later indicated to journalists the BCM “sold us out”.

This was denied by BCM founder Ofentse Kombe, who on Monday said he voted with the opposition coalition at the council meeting on Friday.

He further denied receiving money to go into coalition with the ANC.

“The cost of this partnership is the development of Boitekong,” he said.

Khunou said the BCM put forward various issues, including a need for a clinic and a police station. The party had also expressed concerns about pensioners who were forced to walk long distances to a community hall outside the township to receive their government grants.

“We have agreed that this community centre will be used as a pay-out point, we are meeting with Sassa tomorrow [ Tuesday], we expect to meet with the MEC of health as well as the MEC of safety,” he said.

Kombe said he had received threatening telephone calls since Friday, some allegedly from EFF members.

“My life is in danger but now I am in safe hands,” he said.

“I owe them [EFF] nothing, we work for this seat. We only owe the people of Boitekong. We owe F4SD absolutely nothing,” he said before the agreement was signed.

He said the EFF was the biggest sell-out because none of their candidates in Boitekong were councillors, although EFF supporters had voted for them.

The chairperson of the EFF in Bojanala, Thulani Makhanye, said Kombe must open a case with the police regarding the alleged intimidation and death threats.

Khunou said the ANC did not have any agreement with the BCM going into the council meeting on Friday.

Rustenburg was the only municipality in North West where the ANC did not win an outright majority to rule.

The ANC won 43 council seats, while the EFF had 24, followed by the DA with 14 seats, and the F4SD won 4 seats. The AIC, United Democratic Movement, the Freedom Front Plus and BCM each won one seat.

The BCM was formed in Boitekong, east of Rustenburg, to fight for the development of Boitekong.