Newly elected Polokwane mayor John Mpe. Picture: Supplied
Newly elected Polokwane mayor John Mpe. Picture: Supplied

Polokwane mayor John Mpe vows not to use his position to settle personal scores

By Mashudu Sadike Time of article published Sep 6, 2021

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Pretoria - Newly elected Polokwane mayor John Mpe has vowed to hold out the olive branch to those who opposed his candidacy for mayor within the ANC and its alliance.

Mpe, chairperson of the ANC Peter Mokaba region and the former Capricorn District Municipality mayor, was officially sworn in as mayor on Friday at a special council sitting at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane, Limpopo. Polokwane is the richest and most influential municipality in the province and its only candidate for metro status.

Former Polokwane mayor Thembi Nkadimeng resigned after being appointed deputy minister of co-operative and traditional affairs during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle last month.

Speaking exclusively to the Pretoria News on Friday afternoon after his swearing-in, Mpe said he would embrace those who had opposed his ascension as the city’s number one citizen.

He said: “We embrace differences as long as differences are expressed in a disciplined manner. “When the ANC has taken a decision there is no need to break doors… organisational discipline is much more important. I will not use my this deployment to settle personal scores.

“Those who have held different views remain members of the ANC.”

Last month, when the party proposed candidates for the mayoral position, about 100 women mostly clad in ANC Women’s League regalia and flying the party’s flag, marched to the organisation’s headquarters at Frans Mohlala House to protest against the inclusion of Mpe on the list. The SACP Castro Pilusa Region were equally opposed to Mpe’s candidacy for the mayor’s office.

SACP region spokesperson Pitsi Chokoe said: “We reject the appointment of comrade John Mpe to Polokwane, and also call on him to resign at the Capricorn District Municipality because he has no interest to lead it.”

Although Mpe was willing to embrace his detractors he also warned that there would not be “jobs for pals” in the appointment of municipal officials. “The right people for the jobs would have to be appointed. Entry jobs must be for graduates. If you want to be a clerk you must have a degree,” Mpe warned.

“There is no point in bringing people who… have not studied ahead of those (who have) studied. Most municipal officials now find themselves in a situation where mayors are more educated than them when it should be the other way round.”

Polokwane’s glaring problems are water shortages, poor roads and unemployment.

When asked how he was going to tackle some of those problems, Mpe said: “When Polokwane was built it was meant for a certain group during apartheid; it was designed to serve a few people and not the rest of us in the villages and the townships.

“Now we have to share all those resources, which has put a lot of strain on our infrastructure. “We are going to look at recycling water within the city and be hard on all contractors that are failing us.” In the last financial year, the municipality recorded about R400 million in wasteful expenditure.”

Pretoria News

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