Caucus, mayor at odds

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Benefits expected from the 2010 World Cup soccer games have pitted the ANC against the ANC in Limpopo.

Polokwane, the capital, is one of nine South African cities which will host some World Cup games.

Politicians are already jostling for influential positions of control and access to the huge financial resources that come with staging the games.

Tensions are raging between the executive mayor of Polokwane, Thabo Makunyane and some ANC councillors in the municipality.

Council chief whip Caiphus Mathiba has sent a letter to the provincial leadership on behalf of the caucus, calling for Makunyane to be reprimanded or redeployed.

Makunyane is accused of running the municipality like a personal fiefdom, and compromising service delivery.

ANC councillors make up 95percent of the council .

ANC insiders said personal interests were a factor in the raging tensions among "comrades".

At the heart of the tensions is that the position of municipal manager has remained vacant since 2005, and allegations that Makunyane was dragging his feet in filling the post.

Members of the caucus want acting manager Letsepe Thubakgale appointed. They claim this move has the support of the Limpopo ANC leadership, including provincial MECs.

But Makunyane will not budge, they allege.

One of the municipal manager's responsibilities is to appoint the 2010 co-ordinator.

"This is a strategic position as far as access to the economic resources that flow from the 2010 bid are concerned," said one insider.

They allege it was in Makunyane's interest to keep the municipal manager's post vacant.

"The manager controls members of the supply chain unit which is responsible for the issuing of tenders," said an ANC source.

"Without him, Makunyane takes final responsibility for this important function."

The letter, among other things, accuses Makunyane of lacking political leadership, centralising power in his office and undermining resolutions taken by council, failing to share information with the chief whip, sidelining rural wards and concentrating on the city and Seshego township.

"The delay in appointing a municipal manager impacts on the morale of staff in general. This also impacts on service delivery," reads the letter.

The post was advertised last year and three candidates were apparently short-listed, with the panel recommending the one with the highest score.

The letter says the mayor rejected the recommended candidate. Sowetan has established that was Thubakgale, the acting manager.

Makunyane has rejected all the allegations against him.

He said the Municipality Finance Management Act prohibits any interference in the tender process by politicians.

"If they discovered I have manipulated the process in any way, the tender will be revoked," he said.

Makunyane said, while he has to work with the chief whip, he did not have to consult him on everything.

"I am not an administrator. My job is to provide political leadership in the council," he said.

Makunyane said no one, including the ANC leadership, had confronted him with the allegations contained in the letter.