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They don't want me to be MEC - Kopanong mayor

‘Resurfacing of video comes after I went for MPL interviews’

Jeanette Chabalala Senior Reporter
The mayor of Kopanong municipality in the Free State Xolani Tseletsele.
The mayor of Kopanong municipality in the Free State Xolani Tseletsele.
Image: Facebook

The mayor who has been suspended for threatening a resident who complained about potholes on Facebook claims there is a political plot to prevent him from becoming MEC.

Kopanong municipality mayor Xolani Tseletsele, who has since apologised to Jagersfontein resident Kalebe Kalebe for threatening him in a confrontation caught on video, said the motive behind its circulation was political.

On Tuesday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said Tseletsele has also been recalled as a mayor and will face disciplinary processes.

“The resurfacing of the video comes after I went for MPL interviews and to me it seems like there’s a political fight towards me through using any means necessary to discredit me,” he told Sowetan on Tuesday.

“I was interviewed on Sunday [ November 19] for MPL, which is a step towards being MEC if the organisation [ANC] decides so. On Monday November 20] the video resurfaced, to try to taint me or decrease my chances.

“But what bothers me is not a political fightback of cowards, to me what matters [is] to unequivocally apologise to sustain the peace with Mr Kalebe and his family.”

Tseletsele said he had not only apologised to Kalebe but “everyone whom I’ve angered and disappointed”.

In the video the mayor accused Kalebe of talking too much wagging his finger at him and yelled; “you will see sh**t I am telling”.  The verbal threats by the mayor, who was accompanied by an unidentified man, were made at Kalebe’s home in front of his children.

Tseletsele’s municipality has been beset by problems including failure to pay staff salaries, poor governance, water restrictions due to nonpayment of debt and poor roads.

He admitted on Tuesday that his municipality still owed Eskom about R1.2m and said payment arrangements had been made to settle the debt by December.

The mayor denied his outburst was caused by Kalebe’s complaints about potholes and service delivery failures in his municipality. He said the cause of the conflict was that Kalebe had insulted his mother.

But while Kalebe has confirmed that Tseletsele has since apologised to him and that he accepted his apology, he insisted the fight was over his constant raising of poor delivery by the mayor.

“…Immediate action has to be taken against the mayor Xolani Tseletsele from Kopanong municipality. The actions of the mayor over the past week posed a threat to the wellbeing of an ordinary citizen in his private home. This action gravely violates the constitutional obligations of the ANC public representative," Mbalula said.

“Furthermore, it goes against the values of renewal project. It also goes against the oath public representatives have taken – to serve our people, to be modest, to be humble and not to be arrogant. We know what arrogance has done to the brand and image of the ANC over the years.

“Gone are the days of asinavalo (we don’t have fear). We must have fear for our people. Even if they swear at us, they show their anger at us, we have taken an oath as councillors, public representatives, in the last election where the ANC got 46%. That oath was for real. The time of people doing as they wish and think that they are their own bosses, they are not accountable to anyone, are gone. The ANC will take steps where its image but over and above, the interest of people, are not taken into consideration."

Mbalula said Tseletsele’s actions were not to serve the interests of people but he was arrogant, adding that it did not matter that the video was taken two weeks ago.

In his Facebook post, Kalebe complained bitterly about potholes on the roads around Jagersfontein and particularly the one that leads to Trompsburg.

The social media post by Jagersfontein resident Kalebe Kalebe complaining about potholes in the area.
The social media post by Jagersfontein resident Kalebe Kalebe complaining about potholes in the area.
Image: Facebook

“He [Tseletsele] came to my home because I complained about potholes and service delivery in July. If it had anything to do with insults he could have come already in July, there I would have understood,” Kalebe said.

“But he came after I recently made a comment about the Viano that he hired and he said when he gets into the office, he is going to attend to the mismanagement of funds and corruption, but the mismanagement of funds is still continuing and Kopanong employees are still not getting paid and [apparently] they will only get paid in December.  

“The mayor coming to my home had everything to do with potholes and service delivery because he and I are not friends and we will never be friends.”

chabalalaj@sowetan.co.za


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