The troubled Mangaung Metro in the Free State is currently operating without permanent administrative and political leadership. This is after the resignation of the mayor and speaker of the council, while the municipality is still functioning under an administrator.
Opposition parties in the council are concerned that the lack of leadership is affecting service delivery.
The Municipality is in limbo following the resignation of its key principals. This is despite its provincial administration status being escalated to national intervention. Political instability is a stumbling block to the delivery of basic services to communities.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) Mangaung Councillor, Johann Pretorious believes the municipality is a ship operating without a captain.
“So it’s a crisis, so service delivery is at an all-time low it’s actually at a standstill. We went to HRC yesterday and we gave them almost 130 sewage complaints that have not been looked at. So we are really worried at this stage.”
Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) Mangaung Councillor, Braam Voster says they are equally concerned.
“Because of this political will or non-political will. It also creates a situation in that we don’t have any permanent senior staff members that were appointed. It was advertised last year but the time has lapsed and again advertised now. So it seems there’s no political will from the ANC and the Freedom Front Plus blames that on the internal infighting within the ANC.”
Meanwhile the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillor in the Mangaung Metro, Gopolang Lipale says it is worrying as the ANC is trying to push out its acting deputy mayor.
“We are now being led by an acting deputy mayor whom they’re also forcing to resign. We are now looking forward to the next council sitting where we are going to elect both the executive mayor and speaker so that our people can be able to access services,”
Free State African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson, Mxolisi Dukwana says the process of finalising the placement of the political leadership is said to be underway.
“It has been our very concern from the beginning and we’ve been trying to find a lasting solution in this municipality and making sure that we do not disrupt the functioning of the institution. As a result, we have also had interviews already for the mayor and this process needs to be finalized between today and Monday. Hopefully, by next week, we will have a new mayor, a new speaker and a deputy mayor of the institution.”
Political analyst, Professor Sethulego Matebesi says a vacuum in the municipality needs urgent resolution. Matebesi says another solution could be the dissolution of the council.
“That can be a solution for me that is a long-standing problem and it’s long overdue. But a problem is who is going to step in if you are going to dissolve the council. We have seen interventions whether it’s at the provincial level or at some stage the Free State had a section 139 intervention. Do the administration and governance improves not because you’re recycling the very same people.”
“I have got due respect for all these administrators. But the fact of the matter is, it seems that there’s no political will to deal worth the basic problem.”
The South African Local Government Association says it’s not pleased that several municipalities across the province, including Mangaung, have a high vacancy rate of senior managers.