Municipal managers who act like ANC politicians must be fired

3rd February 2023

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has come into possession of a memorandum apparently issued by the ANC in the Free State calling on, inter alia, municipal managers to attend the provincial ANC lekgotla at Ilanga Estate in Bloemfontein next week.

Municipal managers are listed as invitees along with chief whips, executive mayors and speakers, and informed that they are expected to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

Under no circumstances is it appropriate for a political party to issue an invite to municipal managers or any other municipal officials to attend a party meeting, as if they were political office bearers of that party.

Municipal managers are not politicians. They are apolitical civil servants within the ambit of section 197 of the Constitution, and they must respect the separation of party and state.

The Disciplinary Regulations for Senior Managers under the Municipal Systems Act explicitly bar municipal managers from misusing ‘his or her position in a municipality to promote or to prejudice the interests of a political party’.  

If the ANC were to lose control of more municipalities in the Free State, as it did in the 2021 local government election, municipal managers in those councils must as a matter of law be ready and willing to serve the government of the day.

But if these officials were to attend ANC meetings in their professional capacity, there would be no way for them to continue to serve in a professional position in local government or the public service, for that matter.

In fact, such party political entanglement would serve as grounds for dismissal. The municipal managers who attend these ANC meetings won’t later be able to claim that they were coerced by mayors or councillors, as they are under a statutory obligation to refuse unlawful instructions.

Given the ANC’s cadre deployment policy and its documented mission of state capture, the DA has no reason to believe that the memo is not a genuine article.

We have also received unconfirmed reports that similar memoranda have been issued to municipal managers in other provinces by the ANC, although we would welcome a complete disavowal by the ANC of this and any similar memo.

We call on the ANC to either withdraw this memorandum, or to disavow it, and we warm municipal managers who attend ANC meetings in their official capacity that by doing so they will be in breach of their terms of conditions.


Issued by Cilliers Brink MP - DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)