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The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Free State is perplexed by the recent announcement by the Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC), Fikile Mbalula, that the Mayor of Kopanong, Xolani Tseletsele, should be suspended and disciplined.
We have been on record countless times sharing our sentiments that the ANC should hold its deployees to account for their acts and omissions in their areas of responsibility, particularly in the state and state apparatus. We do not flinch on that call, and we continue to echo the same sentiments! We are encouraged by the step taken by the ANC to reign in the rogue elements amongst the deployees.
COSATU however is shocked that the Secretary General would zoom into this space on a public platform and deal with Kopanong Mayor. The elephant in the room remains the Executive Mayor of Matjhabeng Municipality, who has completely gone off the leash! The issues raised against the Kopanong Mayor could never be equated to what the Matjhabeng Mayor has engaged himself in. Far worse, is the conviction of contempt of court to his name in the current position. Yet, the Secretary General chooses to focus on the Kopanong Mayor, which completely defies logic in our view.
Our displeasure with the Kopanong Mayor emanates from several reasons, including undermining the Federation, calling South African Municipal Workers’ Union(SAMWU) members thugs in municipalities, attempting to reverse the deserved promotions of workers which were overdue. We are convinced that he attempted to sabotage the Federation’s event to commemorate the 11 September Jaggersfontein Slime Dam Disaster. Furthermore, we still have questions about who funded his recent trip to Singapore with the Free State MEC for DESTEA when the Municipality is indigent. If such was funded by the municipality, we need to know the benefit derived by the municipality from the trip to assess the opportunity costs related to the trip.
That being said, and done, we feel that the ANC’s Secretary General chose a weaker political target whilst attempting to protect and defend the much powerful mayor who has national connections. The Kopanong Mayor is a weaker political target because he is a younger deployee with a much shorter political track record against the Matjhabeng Mayor Comrade Thanduxolo Khalipa, who has a longer political record and naturally better connections which earned him the ‘unofficial’ title of being a National Mayor.
It completely defies logic and is discriminatory in many respects. We therefore call on the ANC to apply discipline consistently. The Matjhabeng Mayor should also be recalled in the same manner by the Secretary General!
Additionally, the Mayor of Dihlabeng, Tseki Tseki, who supposedly voluntarily ‘stepped aside’ in June 2023 after his arrest, continues to serve as a mayor and shares platforms with the Premier and MEC’s who are also leaders of the movement. The movement must act in accordance with its principles of consistency without discrimination and deployees must be held accountable. It cannot continue to bleed support because of deployees who enjoy protection even when they have gone rogue!
The struggle continues!
Issued by COSATU Free State