New mayor makes big promises

Newly elected Executive Mayor of the Mangaung Metro Municipality, Mxolisi Siyonzana

The newly elected mayor of the cashstrapped Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) in the Free State, Mxolisi Siyonzana, has promised to ramp up service delivery to the already irate residents in the metro.

Siyonzana garnered 57 of the 87 votes cast during the special council sitting on Monday at the Bram Fischer Building, housing the metro’s council. During a press briefing after the much anticipated sitting, Siyonzana said part of his work will include the improvement of service delivery to the residents of the metro.

The former speaker, with at least 12 years’ experience in that position and 20 years as a councillor in the structures of the ruling ANC party, promised serious engagement with residents in an effort to find an amicable solution to the already dwindling service delivery. Siyonzana’s election as mayor did not come without critique, as a clique of his own comrades within the ruling party lambasted the ANC’s Interim Provincial Committee’s (IPC) choice to elect him as mayor.

This, as many seem to align him to the previous regime of former Premier and currently suspended ANC SecretaryGeneral (SG), Ace Magashule, who is alleged to have presided over massive corruption including the failed R255 million asbestos project, which will soon resume in the High Court for the pre-trial.

However, during the briefing, Siyonzana spoke boldly about how he tried to warn the previous council about a number of issues that had the potential to cause trouble for the metro. He mentioned that in 2017, he wrote a letter to the council and the ANC to warn them about the alleged noncompliance by the metro in terms of the legislative policies. Siyonzana told reporters that, at some point, he was stopped when he wanted to address the issue of bulk borrowing by the metro, when they made at least five loans, borrowing millions from Absa and Standard Bank, among others.

“The previous council had five loans – two from Standard Bank, one from Absa, and two from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). They wanted to borrow R5 billion and I was very critical of that. And if you listen, people out there are saying just before this council, Mangaung had R3 billion in reserves, which is not true,” he added.

The ANC Women’s League chairperson in the Free State, Mapaseka MothibiNkoane, was elected as the new speaker, replacing Siyonzana who resigned last week to make way for the new speaker. Mothibi-Nkoane edged her rival, DA councillor David Masoeu, securing 54 of the 85 votes cast.

Lucky Nkuyane