Par­ties wage vi­cious bat­tles be­fore by-elec­tion

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - NONI MOKATI non­

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

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