Parties wage vicious battles before by-election
THE RACE to win one of the most contested wards in Sasolburg in the Free State is heating up between the ANC, DA and EFF, with death threats against the mayor, a crumbled coalition and a battle for numbers emerging as the driving forces behind tomorrow’s by-election.
Yesterday, the EFF’s hope to run the Metsimaholo municipality in ward 12 were thwarted after a motion of no confidence against mayor Sello Hlasa was withdrawn.
Hlasa, the chairperson of the Metsimaholo Civic Association (MCA), was almost kicked out of office after several charges were levelled against him, which he says were concocted by the DA and the EFF.
These include that he used municipal resources to conduct an interview about the MAC at a local radio station, as well as hiring the driver of former ANC mayor Brutus Mahlaku.
Other claims are that Hlasa appointed a corruption officer and spent R24 000 on a mayoral introduction ceremony, which has been regarded as wasteful expenditure.
The DA, however, withdrew its vote against Hlasa at the eleventh hour on Sunday, citing lack of evidence to substantiate all the allegations.
“The DA and EFF expect me to push their political ideology… that I must shout their slogans and policies. The issues I’m tackling here are bread-and-butter issues.
“That is my focus. I’m not here to shout the DA’s or EFF’s slogans. I’m here to consult with them,” an unfazed Hlasa said yesterday, shortly after a council meeting which collapsed due to party political wrangling.
Hlasa pointed out that he had challenged the motion because the allegations were baseless and denied claims he had been captured by Free State Premier Ace Magashule.
He said his woes at the municipality began in October when he was tasked to handle land grabs against the EFF.
Matters, he said, turned sour after he also announced his decision to remove the DA’s municipal manager.
“Since I came into office I have followed due processes. Everything I’ve done I’ve consulted with the DA to consolidate a programme. The EFF and DA have developed their own interests and an insatiable taste for power.”
Hlasa said he was aware of plots to kill him, adding that his life had become a nightmare.
Before yesterday’s council meeting got under way, members of the MAC protested inside the council chambers.
The by-election comes after an ANC councillor resigned.
LOYAL SUPPORTERS: People in the public gallery of the Metsimaholo (Sasolburg) municipality chambers wave posters in support of the town’s mayor Sello Hlasa yesterday, after an attempt was made to get rid of him.
RECEIVED DEATH THREATS: Metsimaholo mayor Sello Hlasa