THE ANC yesterday laid down the law and said the removal of Mbombela municipality mayor Lassy Chiwayo was made without following proper party procedures.
As things stand, Chiwayo is still mayor of Mbombela.
The ANC's intervention comes after last week's recommendations by the party's regional council (REC) that Chiwayo be recalled.
ANC national spokesperson Ismael Mnisi said the regional leadership of the party, which announced Chiwayo's recall last week, was supposed to write to the ANC nationally to give reasons for its decision.
"If the region has not informed the upper structure then its decision remains null and void," said Mnisi.
Chiwayo's allies have seemingly turned against him after he alleged that there was a hit list targeting political opponents in the province.
He claimed that he was on the list, as was the late Jimmy Mohlala.
Mohlala was the speaker of Mbombela municipality and was shot dead at his home near Nelspruit in January last year.
"Comrade Chiwayo was the first to talk about a hit list during the memorial service of Comrade Mohlala," said ANC regional secretary Pat Ngomane last Wednesday.
"The people who talk about this controversial hit list are people like James Nkambule, the Cope regional chairman.
"Comrade Lassy cannot therefore be seen to be collaborating with Cope when he is one of our own."
Chiwayo has hit back at the REC. He called them "gangsters who acted unconstitutionally".
The REC had also insisted that the ANC branches in Mbombela had shown their dissatisfaction with Chiwayo and that the recommendation to recall him would be forwarded to the provincial executive council (PEC).
Rumours were rife over the weekend that Chiwayo had been fired "as he was connected to Nkambule and the hit list".
Mnisi's stance was confirmed by ANC provincial spokesperson Paul Mbenyane.
"The PEC has noted the recommendations by the REC that Comrade Lassy should be recalled. Mbenyane said the PEC is considering the matter.
"For now Comrade Lassy is still the executive mayor of Mbombela local municipality," Mbenyane said yesterday.
l Meanwhile, the arrested Nkambule is said to be under police guard at Barberton Hospital.
This after police took him there when he became ill while in police custody at Nelspruit.
Nkambule was arrested at his Barberton home on Thursday and charged with fraud, incitement, conspiracy to commit a crime and defeating the ends of justice.
He was remanded in custody after his court appearance on Friday.
He is set to appear before the court again on April 9 where he is expected to apply for bail.