Troubled Mangaung Metro to hold by-elections

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PHOTO: FILE

The troubled Mangaung Metro Municipality in the Free State is set to hold by-elections in July 2023 after the ruling ANC, with the majority in the council, fired eight councillors in March 2023.

ANC councillors, including the former deputy mayor Mapaseka Nokoane Mothibi and former Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Transport, Patrick Monyakoane and others, allegedly voted with the opposition parties for the DA’s speaker.

The Free State Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) spokesperson, Mmabatho Rasenagni, says four wards, which include Thaba Nchu, Botshabelo, Wepener and Bloemfontein, are among those to hold by-elections, including special votes. Rasengani said close to 30 000 people from the four wards are registered voters.

“Voters may register this weekend in wards to be contested in the municipal ward by-elections on 19 July 2023. Voter registration will be held this weekend for four municipal ward by-elections scheduled to take place in the Free State on Wednesday 19 July 2023. Voting stations in the wards listed below will be open this Saturday 3 June and Sunday 4 June, from 08:00 to 17:00 to allow for all eligible voters to register and for current voters to check their registration details and to provide/update address details where necessary. Voters should take their identity document (ID) with them – either a green barcoded ID book, a smartcard ID, or a valid Temporary ID Certificate. They will also need to complete their physical home address on registration or provide sufficient particularities of their place of residence. Documented proof of address (e.g. a municipal account) is not required.”

She also says that voters may also check and update their details at their local (municipal) Electoral Commission (IEC) office on weekdays during office hours. Voters are reminded that it is a criminal offence to register and vote in a ward in which they are not ordinarily resident.

“By-elections will be held in Ward 7 in the Mangaung Metro Municipality – Bloemfontein, with 6 927 registered voters, which became vacant as a result of the councillor’s membership being terminated by the party.

Ward 29 in the Mangaung Metro Municipality – Botshabelo, with 8 117 registered voters, became vacant as a result of the councillor’s membership being terminated by the party.

Ward 49 in Mangaung Metro Municipality – Thaba Nchu, with 7 770 registered voters, became vacant due to the councillor’s membership being terminated by the party.

Ward 50 Mangaung metro Municipality – Wepener, with 7 116 registered voters, became vacant due to the councillor’s membership being terminated by the party,” Rasengani added.

The special voting will take place at voting stations as well as through home visits on 18 July 2023 between 08:00 and 17:00. Voters wishing to cast a special vote can apply at their local IEC office during office hours between 3 July and 7 July 2023.

The ailing metro is without a full-time mayor but has an acting Gregory Nthatisi from the ANC. The ANC’s Nthatisi was elected as acting mayor of Mangaung in April 2022.

ANC’s Nikelo Vumile also retained his seat as council whip of the troubled Metro.

The ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) previously said it welcomed the outcomes of the council meeting of the municipality which sat on Tuesday 25 April 2023 in Bloemfontein.

The ANC PEC’s spokesperson, Jabu Mbalula, said Nikelo’s ousting as Chief Whip by the council was flawed.

“We are therefore happy that Comrade Nikelo has been correctly retained in his position, as is the preference of the ANC and the people of Mangaung. The ANC has further welcomed the decision of the council to give concurrence to the proposal of the national department of Cogta for Ms Ngaka Dumalisile to serve as the Acting City Manager.

These developments must be welcomed and embraced by the residents of Mangaung as they will certainly enhance the capacity of the metro to deliver the much-needed, quality services to the residents,” Mbalula added.

OFM News/Lucky Nkuyane