Mnyimba’s return met with outrage

The ANC Eastern Cape provincial executive committee is already finding itself at loggerheads with the party’s leadership of Amathole region – hardly a few weeks after the provincial elective conference.

Amathole region led the campaign for change in the party’s provincial leadership with its regional secretary Teris Ntutu contesting to be the provincial secretary.

He, however, lost to incumbent Lulama Ngcukayitobi.

But a week after being on the losing side in the provincial conference in mid-May, the Amathole district municipality (ADM) council decided to reappoint the controversial municipal manager, Dr Mthandeki Mnyimba, for another five years, in defiance of the PEC’s instructions.

His reappointment has been met with outrage and workers in Amathole downed tools.

During the week, hundreds of Amathole employees led by the South African Municipal Workers Union marched to hand over memorandums to Eastern Cape cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha and Amathole executive mayor Nceba Ndikinda.

Mnyimba is believed to have been the one who instructed Amathole security officers to drag councillor Nanziwe Rulashe from the premises in an incident that was captured in a video that went viral.

Accepting the memorandum, Nqatha told the workers the provincial executive was concerned about what is happening in Amathole and said Cogta will do everything in its power to remedy the situation, though he emphasised that there are laws that must be followed.

The ANC described Mnyimba’s reappointment as defiance of its efforts to bring stability and good governance to the municipality, which has been afflicted by irregularities.

Attempts to force the region to reverse the appointment have failed.

The regional leadership and the Amathole council remain defiant.

Sunday World has seen a report that was tabled by provincial executive committee member Mncedisi Nontsele, who is also the PEC’s Amathole deployee, in which he detailed various interactions with Amathole region to quell what he described as consistent behaviour of total disobedience.

Nontsele concluded his report with recommendations for the suspension of the Amathole troika of mayor Ndikinda, council speaker Nondumiso Mgidlana and chief whip Nonceba Mfecane until the finalisation of their disciplinary action arising from the alleged transgressions.

He said: “It is our humble submission that the instrumentality of the ANC caucus cannot diminish under our watch, comrades. Comrade Ndikinda, comrade Mfecane and comrade Mgidlana must be written to in order to provide a full report individually as to why they must not be suspended for the events that took place on 16th May 2022.”

The trio has been given seven days to explain itself.

In his report, Nontsele said the ANC caucus in Amathole was convened and instructed to withdraw the report on the reappointment of Mnyimba and restart the recruitment process.

But the matter was never discussed in the council meeting after about 14 of the ANC councillors did not show up, which meant the meeting failed to achieve a quorum.

Nontsele described that as a deliberate act of sabotage by the 14 councillors and recommended disciplinary action against them.

In another effort, the ANC summoned its councillors from Amathole to a meeting at its Calata House provincial offices on May 31, but once again the majority of councillors, including Ndikinda, did not show up. Instead, they convened a council meeting where the reappointment of Mnyimba was confirmed.

Nontsele said after that invitation was issued, Amathole deputy regional secretary Zibuthe Mnqwazi is understood to have issued another letter advising councillors against attending the meeting at Calata House.

He said the PEC has been resolute that the continued appointment or renewal of Mnyimba’s contract is the perpetuation of the crisis that has led to the financial collapse of the Amathole district municipality.

“It is unfortunate… that comrades in Amathole region were adamant to appoint Dr Mnyimba, ignoring all the communications and instructions by the PEC to do otherwise,” said Nontsele.

He slammed the “blatant disregard for the PEC instruction”.

Nontsele also lashed out at the Amathole regional executive committee and said it developed amnesia on the authority of the PEC as dictated by the ANC constitution.

“We had to school them and continue to advocate a view of wanting ANC [members] to distance themselves on administrative matters and further challenge cadre deployment,” said Nontsele.

Amathole deputy secretary Mnqwazi said internal discussions between the region and the province are ongoing.

But another member of the Amathole regional executive said the province is at fault, not the region.

“The provincial task team, which is still the same people in the PEC, knew that Mnyimba’s contract was coming to an end and the post was advertised but they never made any recommendations to the region about who should be deployed there.

“When there’s a vacancy it is up to the province to decide who it would prefer to deploy there and advise its potential deployees and then approach its deployees in the council about who it would prefer.

“But they just don’t want Mnyimba but they don’t know who they want.”

The ANC PEC was unavailable to comment.

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