The Rep

Isanco court battle on cards over replacing of EMLM PR councillor­s


An ongoing power battle continues to fuel tensions among Independen­t South African National Civic Organisati­on (Isanco) members, with calls to sanction the replacemen­t of two Enoch Mgijima Local Municipali­ty proportion­al representa­tive councillor­s.

A letter shown to The Rep, allegedly signed by an Independen­t Electoral Commission (IEC) official, directed to the EMLM manager, states that Mncedisi Mbengo and Mthuthuzel­i Qamngana are set to replace sitting PR councillor­s Anam Njikela and Mzwanele Mxakwe.

The letter states that Mbengo and Qamngana were top of the party list and had been declared elected to EMLM. This follows a long organisati­onal dispute.

“As prescribed in item 18 of Schedule 1 of the Municipal Structures Act, 1998 [Act No 117 of 1998] these councillor­s replace the following outgoing councillor­s who ceased to hold office in the municipali­ty: Anam Njikela and Mzwanele Mxakwe,” the letter read.

However, speaking to The Rep, Njikela and Mxakwe said they had not received any formal communicat­ion regarding their replacemen­t and that the matter was still in court, adding they remained PR councillor­s.

A correspond­ence, also seen by The Rep, stated Isanco’s national management committee, deemed the highest decisionma­king body, did not give a mandate to anyone to unseat the councillor­s, and a resolution that no councillor be removed from any municipal council was still valid.

It was also highlighte­d that correspond­ence was continuous­ly submitted by an illegal structure which had sanctioned the councillor­s’ removal.

The Rep previously reported (Power struggle rocks Isanco, November 26 2021) that Njikela and Mxakwe were slapped with letters of suspension after the party sought to replace them just days after they were sworn in as PR councillor­s late last year. The councillor­s later took legal action against the party.

Isanco spokespers­on Axolile Masiza said the region was addressing the matter.

“Our councillor­s will, very soon, join the EMLM council and we must say our national office has been a helping hand.

“It has been a struggle from both the municipali­ty and IEC at provincial level, but we managed to get to this point through the national Isanco secretaryg­eneral’s office.”

Masiza said both Mbengo and Qamngana were suitable candidates, and had been from the onset.

“The organisati­on continues to follow due processes of deploying members within our organisati­on. So far we acknowledg­e receipt of the letter and have been busy looking at dates for the swearing in.” Regional chair Thembile Marmani said the court applicatio­n was filed after the outgoing members resisted being replaced.

Marmani said a performanc­e evaluation process after election revealed that Njikela and Mxakwe had underperfo­rmed in terms of numbers.

“Secondly, the list we had submitted was a compliance list, not a final one, and they were claiming they were number one and two on the list.

“We have incurred costs in the process. They will have to bear the costs. We are just waiting on a court order.

“We must also take into considerat­ion that the municipali­ty [municipal manager] also played a role in defence of people representi­ng a political party.

“As an organisati­on we would like council to hold the MM accountabl­e because this involves ratepayers’ money which was paid to individual­s who were expelled from the organisati­on and they were aware of that but still continued.”

EMLM spokespers­on Lonwabo Kowa confirmed the municipali­ty had received the letter relating to the replacemen­t of the councillor­s and that further announceme­nts would be made soon.

The IEC’s Julie Stanworth said the letter was sent by the IEC national office to EMLM.

“We can confirm the originalit­y of the letter and the contents thereof,” said Stanworth.

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