‘Ghost’ named new mayor
PATRICK “Ghost” Mabilo was announced as the new Sol Plaatje executive mayor by the ANC, although he has yet to be officially inaugurated in council.
ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga said on Friday that Mabilo would be tasked with holding an imbizo to address challenges facing Sol Plaatje Municipality, including shortfalls in the budget and R2.1 billion that is owed by its debtors.
“Comrade Ghost will have to dissect and address the problems at the municipality. In a snapshot assessment of Sol Plaatje Municipality, we are unhappy about the sewage that is running down the streets and the uncollected refuse.”
Ngxanga stated that the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) was still considering its options on where to deploy Mangaliso Matika, who will only resign as Sol Plaatje executive mayor on September 26.
“The mayor resigned in line with a decision taken by the PEC to avert further disruptions in the city. We may employ Matika full time in the ANC to strengthen the structures such as the Veterans League and Women’s League or he may be deployed to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.”
He apologised to businesses that had suffered during the recent citywide shutdown and protest action.
Ngxanga said the PEC had selected Mabilo out of a pool of three names that were submitted by the ANC Regional Executive Committee, the other candidates being Dimakatso Chinkulu and Anna Boqo.
“Mabilo was born and bred in Galeshewe and spent most of his life in Kimberley. Mabilo is a dynamic politician, community builder and a proven activist for social justice and transformation. He served in Sadtu as a shop steward, branch secretary, regional secretary and provincial secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union. He has also served the ANC at branch, regional and provincial executive level.”
Mabilo is the former MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison and MEC for Environment and Nature Conservation.
He also served on the National Assembly and was sworn in as a member of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature in February after the former MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Alvin Botes, was deployed to Parliament.
Ngxanga stated that Mabilo would bring a wealth of experience to the municipality.
“The ANC is confident that he will be able to make a significant difference. We will work together with Mabilo and his team to ensure that the municipality is stable and, importantly, that services are delivered.”
He added that it would be necessary to appoint permanent staff to fill the position of municipal manager and chief financial officer in order to restore stability to the municipality.
“We do have a municipal manager and CFO who have been suspended pending the outcome of the Section 106 investigation at Sol Plaatje Municipality. We do not want to pre-empt the outcome of the investigation. Decisive action will be taken against any officials who are caught with their hands in the cookie jar.”
Ngxanga also advised that administrative officials should not meddle in politics.
“Councillors must keep to their lanes and focus on service delivery. Councillors must stay away from tenders and if they do become involved, they will face the axe.”
Freedom Front Plus provincial leader, Wynand Boshoff, pointed out that it was up to council to elect a new mayor.
“The vacancy for the mayor will only become vacant on September 26 when Matika’s resignation comes into effect. The ANC is only at liberty to announce their preferred candidate. The new mayor will have to unite a very divided majority,” said Boshoff.
He added that eight out of the 11 ANC councillors who voted Matika out during a special council meeting were ward councillors.
“If a decision is taken to get rid of these councillors, it can result in by-elections where the ANC stands to lose these wards.”
Boshoff pointed out that the administration of the municipality could only return to normal once the chief financial officer and municipal manager positions were permanently filled.
“Only once this is done, can council begin to address the massive financial shortfall in the budget that was created when the R260 basic electricity tariff was put in abeyance.”
Cope national chairperson Pakes Dikgetsi stated that the high turnover of mayors at Sol Plaatje Municipality was creating instability within the organisation.
“In the past 10 years we have had eight different mayors. Each time they come in with their own political staff and dump existing policies. This is while service delivery, job creation and growth of the economy takes a back seat.”
He believes that citizens should be able to elect the mayor.
“In this way mayors will be held accountable to the public and not to political bosses.”
BRIEFING: ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga speaking during the press briefing.