Preparations for disciplinary action against the seven ANC councillors who voted for Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Michael Whisson during last week’s mayoral elections are underway, says the ANC.
Preparations for disciplinary action against the seven ANC councillors who voted for Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Michael Whisson during last week’s mayoral elections are underway, says the ANC. The party’s secretary in Makana, Zanky Mahlahla told Grocott’s Mail yesterday that the subregional leadership started preparing to take disciplinary steps against the councillors.
"We as the ANC were not surprised by the turn of events, because it confirms what we’ve been saying all along that those councillors are not ANC councillors," she explained. "There’s no ANC councillor who can vote for Whisson, who remains a member of the opposition."
She added that the party has suspended five of its councillors in Makana and that the five do not take part in any party activities. "The National Disciplinary Committee of Appeals is in the Eastern Cape dealing with appeals from dismissed councillors, the activity [of voting for Whisson]itself is helping is to expedite the disciplinary process," she said.
Mahlahla went further by saying that some ANC councillors are only in it for the money and are using the ANC to fulfill their ambitions. "They are greedy, they are stealing government money and we are gonna deal with them," she warned. She added that this issue would be the first item on the agenda for yesterday’s subregional meeting. She said that councillors who do not obey the party’s instructions would be dealt with and cited former Makana Mayor Pumelelo Kate’s resignation as an illustration of the party’s power to act on ANC councillors who are no longer toeing the party line.
"At no stage did he support ANC programmes and that’s why we removed him, now we want programmes of service delivery to be rolled out," she said. Rhodes University political analyst Thabisi Hoeane said the events were "quite significant" that some ANC councillors voted for Whisson. He said that it was one of very few occasions where an ANC-led institution voted for a member of the opposition to hold such a key position.
While he said he gathered that Makana was doing well during Lwana’s previous term of office (between 2000 and 2006), he said the city has to "wait and see" if his return is something to celebrate. "In his first tenure there were no divisions, it will be interesting to find out whether he can unify the council," he said.
Meanwhile, Whisson told Grocott’s Mail yesterday that he was also surprised by the events at the council meeting. "I didn’t know that I was going to be nominated for the position, it was a well kept secret, " he said. Whisson added that had he been voted in as mayor he would have sought to lead a non-partisan institution. "I would have appointed the best five councillors available into the mayoral committee, regardless of their political affiliation," he said.
Whisson also said that had he been elected mayor he would have reduced his taxable allowances by R200 000 per annum and used the money as a contribution to an emergency fund instead. DA chairman in Makana Jock McConnachie said that had Whisson been elected it would have been a turnaround for Makana politics. "It would have broken the ANC dominance and put an end to the closed shop thing which characterises the nature of business in the municipality," he said.
Commenting on the nail biting mayoral election, he said that it is encouraging to see ANC members who are independent enough to vote for a candidate from the opposition and added that he hoped that there would not be a witch-hunt for the councillors who voted for Whisson.