Cogta Minister Zweli Mkhize has seen the call for the Makana Council to be put under administration and will consider returning to Makhanda (Grahamstown) to address the community, his spokesperson Musa Zondi told Grocott’s Mail yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile an ANC meeting in BB Zondani Hall this morning is unrelated to the 20 758-signature petition delivered during a march to the Makana City Hall and Cogta’s Bhisho offices last week, insiders say. The petition calls for Section 139(1)(c) administration by the Province, citing administrative, environmental and infrastructural failures.
Rumours of a palace revolution have been laughed off, although a high-level deployment of members of the ANC’s Provincial Executive and even the NEC Top Six are expected to be received.
DispatchLive reported that National Working Committee members of the organisation met in East London on Monday following the decision by the Provincial Executive led by Oscar Mabuyane to disband the party’s Port Elizabeth-based region.
Mabuyane is quoted in the article saying the reason for the visit was to give a political report on the state of the organisation in the region, and why they resolved to disband it. A similar fate was on the cards for the Buffalo City region.
However, senior ANC members in the Makana Subregion have dismissed the idea that today’s meeting in Makhanda could see a reshuffle of Council’s Troika. This is the top-three executive of the ANC-led Council, namely Nomhle Gaga (Executive Mayor), Yandiswa Vara (Speaker) and Mahbuti Matyumza (Chief Whip). Factions within Makana’s ANC caucus have been on either side of the NDZ/ CR fault line, with some councillors serving their second term perceived as being aligned to the former, and so linked to the (former presiident Jacob) Zuma legacy.
“There will definitely be PEC and other senior-level leadership deployed here tomorrow,” said one speaking on condition of anonymity; however, the purpose of his visit is a briefing on Thuma Mina.”
Thuma Mina (“send me”) – the call for the spirit of volunteerism introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at his inauguration – is the theme adopted by the ANC in their campaign to reconnect with communities.
“And unity – unity within the ANC is the other focus of the visit.”
Two possible times were given for today’s meeting, 11am and 3pm, and Grocott’s Mail was not able to confirm whether one of these would be a march to oppose the call for administration. The march, “to defend our municipality” and in direct opposition to a march by a group of residents on Tuesday 6 November was called off at the last minute after intervention by the organisation’s regional executive committee.
Cogta Minister Zweli Mkhize’s spokesperson Musa Zondi confirmed the high-level ANC meeting on Monday in East London but said the situation in Makana had not been on the agenda.
“They only discussed the programmes of ANC – Thuma Mina in particular – but also unity,” Makana was not discussed at all,” said Zondi.
Regarding the petition delivered to Cogta MEC Fikile Xasa’s Bhisho offices on Friday 9 November, Zondi confirmed the Minister had seen it.
“The Minister has obviously taken very seriously the memo, the march and the issues as they relate to Grahamstown,” said Zondi. “But it’s not only about Grahamnstown: really, all the issues relate to all the municipalities. The first level of economic activity is local and the country thrives or flounders on how local government works.
“The Minister was there [in Makhanda (Grahamstown) earlier this year]and made promises: he takes his word seriously. Meantime, a high-level team of DDGs (deputy directors general) will come to assess progress since the Minister’s visit in May. He has also asked for Makana to give him a report.”
Asked about the timing, Zondi said, “It is immediate but I can’t confirm that date. They were instructed to do it almost immediately.”
Of Mkhize’s follow-up visit, Zondi said, “He may not necessarily come immediately but will consider returning to Makhanda and addressing the community.”