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Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

Local ANC branches in the Vaal are rebelling after the party forced Emfuleni mayor Dikeledi Tsotetsi to resign and suspended municipal manager Manana Bakane-Tuoane.

Branches are mobilising to counter the provincial and regional officials' decision.

Tsotetsi and Bakane-Tuoane said they were about to conclude their investigation which would show that top ANC officials in the region were involved in scams.

The ANC's regional executive committee denied that the decision has caused a breakdown in relations with local branches in the Vaal.

But the local branches said Dikeledi and Bakane-Tuoane were removed because they were investigating corrupt municipal officials.

The regional committee said the pair were ousted because they had failed to perform their duties.

"Our committee, together with the provincial executive committee, could not allow the municipality to continue going downhill," said Simon Mofokeng, chairman of the ANC's regional executive committee.

He said Emfuleni had faced one serious problem after another under Tsotetsi and Bakane-Tuoane.

"The provincial working committee was forced to intervene after a report about Tsotetsi and Bakane-Tuoane's governance was given to the provincial executive committee," he said.

Mofokeng said the situation was so bad that immediate action had been required to resolve the crisis.

"Tsotetsi has been redeployed. The movement feels that she is needed elsewhere," said Mofokeng.

Mike Muir has been appointed Emfuleni's acting executive mayor.

Mofokeng denied that the corruption investigation had caused bad blood in Emfuleni.

"Investigations will continue," he said.

Last week about 200 ANC members disrupted a council meeting that was discussing the women's fate.

Bakane-Tuoane had earlier told Sowetan that preliminary investigations had revealed that many officials and certain companies were involved in corruption ranging from the organised theft of cable and fuel to fraud and money laundering.

The municipality has laid charges with the police.

At least two-thirds of the 43 local ANC branches have passed a vote of no-confidence in the party's regional and provincial structures for removing Tsotetsi.

Members were so upset that fist fights broke out during discussions.

Most of the local branches support the corruption probe the mayor and municipal manager had instigated and demand that they be retained in their positions.

The PAC's deputy secretary in Emfuleni, Abel Motaung, said his party was upset with the ANC's decision, but the DA's local chief whip Gerda Senekal said it supported Tsotetsi's removal.