11 February 2019

South Africa: Tshwane Must Be Won Through the Ballot - ANC Gauteng Secretary

The challenges facing the City of Tshwane will not be resolved through a partnership between the ANC and the EFF.

This is the view of ANC Gauteng provincial secretary Jacob Khawe.

He said regional leader and leader of the ANC in council Kgosi Maepa should wait until the next local government elections for a shot at becoming the capital city's mayor.

This week the DA's Solly Msimanga will vacate the mayoral office after he announced his resignation last month.

Msimanga said this was in order to focus on his bid to become Gauteng premier in the upcoming national elections.

"We want to clean the administration in Tshwane, so the two basic principles of a corrupt Tshwane and winning through ballot cannot be solved by a coalition with EFF," said Khawe during a sit-down with News24.

Scandals

Questioning Msimanga's resignation, Khawe said the DA was attempting to save itself with the move.

Msimanga has been embroiled in a number of scandals including the multibillion-rand GladAfrica saga, the hiring of unqualified staffers in his office and claims that he had lost favour with his caucus.

"That GladAfrica scandal is too big, worse now the AG (Auditor General) report is out... procurement procedures are flawed, nobody following the law, so they were saving themselves," claimed Khawe.

There is no need to take over an allegedly corrupt municipality with urgency, he added.

Khawe also said the ANC would never seek to work out a deal with the DA but would support efforts to rid Tshwane of a DA government.

The DA has already announced MP Stevens Mokgalapa as its preferred candidate for the mayoral post.

Talks with EFF

"We don't want a DA mayor, if it means they must win with a small margin let them do so," said Khawe.

"If EFF was to agree that we don't vote for a DA mayor, but any mayor from the parties which are there we would agree with the EFF," he added.

The provincial secretary also said he had taken note of comments made by the red berets' leader, Julius Malema, who has often claimed to his supporters that the ANC had asked to discuss the capital city with the EFF.

"It's so lovely, they approach us, say let's talk and then go to the rallies and say we said let's talk. He goes to the public and says they are coming to talk," a laughing Khawe explained.

Khawe also said provincial leaders had to rein in regional leaders who see an opportunity for the ANC to regain control of the metro it lost in the 2016 local government elections.

"There were times they were so excited they wanted to be a mayor, we said to them let's not rush, let's listen to our people," he said of ANC leaders in Tshwane.

Corrupt leaders to be 'subjected to integrity commission'

Khawe said the ANC in the province was more interested in listening to what its potential voters thought of the governing party, adding that the new leadership collective was keen to take action when its people complained about particular issues.

"In Gauteng now, once there's allegation against you we just subject you to the integrity commission," said Khawe.

Two provincial executive committee leaders, Brian Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu, have been asked to "step aside" following findings by the ANC's integrity commission.

Hlongwa was implicated in corrupt activities with other officials in a report by the Specialised Investigating Unit, while Mahlangu was hauled before the integrity commission for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy that resulted in the deaths of at least 144 psychiatric patients after they were transferred from the institution to numerous unlicensed NGOs.

Khawe also said ANC leaders were not allowed to debate issues around the tragedy when conducting door-to-door campaigns or interacting with residents, saying the party needed to humble itself.

Khawe said the ANC felt voters thought the party was soft on corruption and had now directed its MECs and directors to take swift and tough action when dealing with allegations of corruption.

ANC Gauteng under pressure to explain national issues

"We said to national we are going to be a leadership that'll engage with national on what they say," he said referring to party leaders.

Khawe said no other ANC provincial structure was expected to explain the actions of party leaders at a national level as much as Gauteng.

The province also previously blamed its dwindling support at the polls on former president Jacob Zuma's troubles and an arrogant national leadership. In a recent tweet Zuma pointed a finger back at Gauteng for its performance at the 2016 municipal polls, where it lost control of both Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Although Khawe refused to say much on the matter, he raised concern over the use of social media by national leaders and said the province had recently hosted Zuma during a campaign in the West Rand.

He said all former ANC presidents had been invited to join in the party's election campaigning.

News24

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