Maluti-A-Phofung Council to elect new Mayor, Speaker, Chief Whip

The Maluti-a-Phofung municipality offices. Picture: Facebook.
The much-anticipated first council sitting at Maluti-A-Phofung post the 2019 by-elections where the ANC in the Free State lost ten seats to independent candidates, is expected to take place on Thursday.

This, after ANC councillors last week boycotted the sitting that was expected to see the election of the new Mayor, Speaker, and Chief Whip. The meeting that was scheduled on September the 5th failed to take place as the council could not form a quorum due the majority of ANC councillors who failed to pitch. The municipality, which has for years made news over poor service delivery, maladministration, corruption and escalating Eskom debt, amongst other issues, held by-elections on August 28 after 15 wards became vacant following the expulsion of councillors by the ANC late last year.

A total of 16 ANC councillors were expelled by the party after they were found guilty for voting with opposition parties during the election of the executive mayor. They were accused of defying the party’s resolution to nominate and vote for a party-preferred candidate into the mayoral office. Following several court battles to be reinstated, the group lost their case in February this year when the Free State High Court ruled in favour of the ANC and dismissed their case with costs.

Just weeks before last month’s by-elections the group then went public with their decision to officially part ways with the ANC and contest the elections independently. The hotly contested 15 wards which were overall contested by 89 candidates from six political parties and 16 independent candidates resulted in the ANC only managing to retain five seats and losing the rest to the group.

Thursday’s sitting is expected to see the ANC, the independent group and other members of the oppositions getting together in the municipal chambers to chart a way forward for the municipality.

This, as the municipality is amongst those still battling to generate revenue, provide services to its residents, nor settle its debts. It is nearly R3 billion indebted to Eskom and owes its water board over R1,2 billion. It is also listed in the Auditor-General (AG)’s latest report as amongst the municipalities with high irregular, wasteful expenditure.