Two FS municipal by-elections in full swing

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The by-elections in the Moqhaka and Matjhabeng Local Municipalities in the Free State are in full swing.

This after ward 20 in Moqhaka and ward 17 in Matjhabeng both became vacant as a result of the resignation of its councillors. The wards, both previously ran by the ANC, are today contested by six candidates and four political parties.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa’s spokesperson in the Free State, Mmathabo Rasengane, confirmed that preparations for these two by-elections had been running smoothly and it was all systems go. She adds that the special votes held in these wards yesterday also proceeded well. Ward 20 in Moqhaka is contested by the ANC, PAU and the EFF while Matjhabeng’s ward 17 is contested by the ANC, EFF and the ACDP.

These two by-elections will be followed by those in the financially troubled Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality at the end of the month.

The long-awaited Maluti-A-Phofung by-elections will come after vacancies occurred when the ANC expelled 16 of its Councillors last year after they were found guilty of voting with opposition parties during the election of the executive mayor, Gilbert Mokotso.

They were accused of defying the party’s resolution to nominate and vote for a party-preferred candidate into the mayoral office.

The municipality recently made news when a group of community members protested outside the Luthuli House, demanding that the 16 ANC councillors be reinstated and vowing to disrupt the by-elections should the party not heed their call.

The municipality, still in the red over its Eskom and water debts, became a focal point in the Provincial Legislature when MPLs debated the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs 2019/20 budget tabled by the newly appointed MEC, Thembeni Nxangisa.

The municipality owes the power utility nearly R3 billion and its water board more than R1.2 billion. It is listed in the latest AG report as amongst the many that grapples to provide basic services such as refuse collection, water, and electricity to its residents.

OFM News’ correspondent in Qwaqwa, Tumelo Khotha, has reported that the 16 Maluti-A-Phofung councillors, expelled by the ANC, have finally parted ways with the ANC and will be contesting the August 28 by-elections as independent candidates.

OFM News/Katleho Morapela