The town of Stutterheim and the Amahlathi Local Municipality can only be saved if the Municipal Council is dissolved with immediate effect.
I will, therefore, write to Fikile Xasa, Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), to dissolve the Council and hold fresh elections as soon as possible.
Yesterday, 15 January 2019, a crucial council meeting could not proceed as it was prevented from taking place by the failing ANC.
The local ANC councillors and provincial ANC leaders could not agree on who should be appointed as Mayor, Speaker and Chief Whip and this led to an impasse.
This follows the recent resignation of Phateka Qaba (Mayor), Nokuzola Mlahleki (Speaker) and Xhanti Mngxaso (Chief Whip).
The failing ANC recalled the former Mayor late last year, but she stayed in office.
The first effort to convene yesterday’s planned council meeting escalated into a physical brawl and the South African Police Service had to be called in. Stun grenades were fired to bring an end to the fighting.
Following this, different ANC factions argued till about 15:00. They apparently had a list of 4 candidates to fill the 3 positions, but could not agree and finalise it.
Stutterheim has been under siege since October 2018.
Critical infrastructure continues to be destroyed. Water pumps, sub-stations and municipal buildings have already been destroyed by the protesting mob.
There has been zero service delivery since protest action began in October last year, with municipal workers afraid to come to work due to threats and intimidation. Attempts to resume services earlier this week caused further rioting in the streets.
Businesses are losing money by the day, many have been forced to close their doors and jobs are on the line.
The DA has previously called on MEC Xasa to put the Amahlathi Municipality under administration, but this request was ignored. A promised forensic report into the situation within the Municipality, was also never delivered.
The Amahlathi Local Municipality is therefore in limbo without any leadership. This can only lead to the total collapse of the Municipality and the town of Stutterheim.
If MEC Xasa does not take decisive action within 7 days, we will escalate this issue to the national Minister of COGTA, Dr. Zweli Mkhize.
Only a DA government can bring the change that will create fair access to jobs, deliver better services, has a plan to keep communities safe by ensuring we have an honest a professional police service and Build One SA for All.
The power to bring change to the Eastern Cape is in the hands of the people. We, therefore, call on all eligible voters to register to vote in the upcoming General Elections.
Kevin Mileham MP
DA EC Premier Campaign Spokesperson for Basic Services
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