Politics in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality have once again taken center stage, and the repercussions are far-reaching. The struggle for leadership in the municipality not only creates instability but also jeopardizes the delivery of basic services. In this article, we delve into the recent power struggle that has unfolded in Mangaung, focusing on the battle for the position of the executive mayor and its impact on the community.
The Executive Mayor Position
In the latest episode of this political saga, Gregory Nthatisi, a member of the African National Congress (ANC), was permanently elected as the executive mayor. However, the story takes a twist when Pappie Mokoena, the leader of the Afrikan Alliance of Social Democrats (AASD), claims that he is the rightful executive mayor and that the court should review his removal.
The Controversy Unfolds
Mokoena’s claim dates back to his election as the executive mayor on April 14, 2023. Just two days after his appointment, the ANC removed him through a court interdict. Mokoena remains steadfast in his belief that he is still the legitimate executive mayor of Mangaung. His argument hinges on the fact that the review application has not been determined.
- He insists that the election of a new executive mayor on that fateful Friday was unlawful because his election had not been nullified by the court.
- Mokoena sent a letter to the municipality, notifying the relevant authorities that the appointment of a new mayor was legally questionable.
On the other side of the divide, the council asserts that they have the prerogative to rescind or review the order after a waiting period of 90 days. According to their stance, Mangaung can only have one executive mayor, which is Nthatisi, not Mokoena. Lawrence Mathae, the ANC Chief Whip in the Mangaung Metro, reinforced this view by highlighting that Mokoena was interdicted by the court and should not serve as the executive mayor.
The Implications for Basic Services
This political tug-of-war has grave consequences for the ordinary citizens of Mangaung. Professor Sethulego Matebesi, a renowned political analyst, expresses his concern about the impact of these legal battles on the development of the community. He points out that this turmoil primarily serves the interests of individual leaders rather than the well-being of the residents.
“It is not for the interest of the citizens but all about how individual leaders are protecting their own interests. And it’s a sad-sad story for South Africa,” says Matebesi. He also notes that despite numerous interventions by both the provincial and national governments, the governance within the municipality remains far from ideal.
The Way Forward
Despite the contentious circumstances surrounding Nthatisi’s election as the executive mayor, the political landscape in Mangaung appears to have settled, at least temporarily. Nthatisi’s appointment was ratified during a special council meeting, with Lulama Titi-Odili being elected as his deputy.
While the legal battles may continue, it is crucial to remember that the people of Mangaung are the ultimate beneficiaries or victims of these political disputes. The ongoing instability and ambiguity over leadership do not bode well for the municipality’s progress. For Mangaung to realize its potential and set a positive example of governance, political leaders must put the interests of the community first and strive for stability and unity.
The recent political turmoil in Mangaung over the executive mayor position raises critical questions about the priorities of political leaders. It is essential that such conflicts do not come at the expense of basic services and community development. The citizens of Mangaung deserve better, and it is incumbent upon their elected leaders to work towards a harmonious and stable future for the municipality.