Protesters hold plug-cards outside the mayor's office in Tlokwe demanding that all 14 ANC councillors who were fired last week be reinstated.
Picture:Paballo Thekiso
Protesters hold plug-cards outside the mayor's office in Tlokwe demanding that all 14 ANC councillors who were fired last week be reinstated. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Zuma intervenes to stop Tlokwe going to DA

By Thabiso Thakali and Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Jul 13, 2013

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is not letting Tlokwe go to the DA.

On Friday, as the tide turned against the ANC in Potchefstroom, with hundreds of residents marching to demand the reinstatement of 14 expelled councillors and dismissal of mayor Maphetle Maphetle, Zuma sent Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to receive their memorandum.

With elections looming next year, Mapisa-Nqakula flew to Tlokwe in a military helicopter to assure the angry residents carrying placards lambasting ANC for disregarding “rampant corruption” in the municipality, that the president would honour his promise to resolve their problems.

On Thursday Zuma met a delegation of five of the 14 expelled councillors at his official residence, Mahlamba Ndlopfu, in Pretoria where he is understood to have expressed anger at how he had been “misled” into believing they (councillors) had voted with the DA to oust Maphetle last week.

This was despite the ANC in North West steadfastly stating that the councillors were “renegades” who had been expelled from the party for ill-discipline.

Zuma has now delegated his deputy in the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, to deal with all the problems in Tlokwe and to meet the councillors next Wednesday.

Maseapei Madiehe-Teme, one of the councillors who had the meeting with Zuma, told the Saturday Star that the president was “angry” when he met them.

“He said to us that they have been given wrong information that we voted with DA,” she said.

“He promised that the deputy president of the ANC will be working with us next week to resolve all the problems in Tlokwe and to institute an investigation into our grievances.”

Last week, Maphetle was ousted for the second time in seven months as mayor in Tlokwe amid allegations of corruption and maladministration in a motion of no confidence brought by the DA.

On Friday, the SA National Civil Organisation (Sanco) led a march to the municipality to hand a memorandum of grievances calling for Maphetle’s sacking and an institution of criminal charges against him for alleged corruption.

Hundreds of residents from Tlokwe converged at the Dan Tloome municipal offices to voice their dissatisfaction with how the municipality was run.

Packet Seaketso, Sanco’s provincial secretary said he feared that the ANC was going to lose voters in the municipality and in the North West if it failed to act on corruption.

This was as the party announced that it had replaced six councillors out of the total of 14 who were expelled, and that it was awaiting a date from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for by-elections to be held where the rest would be replaced through the ballot.

“This has the potential to split the ANC votes and weaken the party in the province,” said Seaketso.

“I believe we can still do some damage control if the leadership of the party can give this a serious thought.”

In their memorandum Sanco accused Maphetle of abusing public funds aimed at poverty alleviation and disaster to stage a jazz festival, that he had not accounted for R5m set aside for mayoral cleaning projects, and that he deliberately misled the council to build a R34m airport runaway.

Meanwhile, as the angry crowd returned from yesterday’s march in Tlokwe, they looted foreign-owned shops in Ikageng township, stealing bread, cigarettes and sweets, among other things.

The main road leading into the township was barricaded with rocks and police Nyalas moved swiftly into the township to disperse the mob.

Saturday Star

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