ONE of South Africa’s most enduring local political disputes may have finally ended, with the African National Congress (ANC) on Monday giving Nelson Mandela metropolitan municipality executive mayor Zanoxolo Wayile the boot.
Mr Wayile has now been “redeployed” to Parliament in Cape Town as an MP. And in vintage ANC style, his nemesis, Nelson Mandela Bay ANC regional chairman Nceba Faku, also a former mayor, has now quit his ANC post — by SMS — ahead of a meeting with the party’s leadership to decide his fate.
The rift between Mr Wayile and Mr Faku had raised concerns over governance of the metro, forcing the party to intervene at national level in 2011 to smooth over tensions and try to rebuild political trust. The ANC just managed to win the metro with 50% of votes in the 2011 local elections, down from 63% in 2006.
Fellow ANC regional members said at the weekend they were “surprised” by Mr Faku’s move.
Mr Wayile said he was told on Sunday he was now heading to Parliament, while his deputy, Nancy Sihlwayi, will be redeployed to an administrative post in the provincial capital, Bhisho. Mr Wayile said no timeline had been set for his replacement.
There is speculation that the ANC has already selected Ben Fihla, now the whip for the portfolio committee on state security, to fill the position of mayor.
ANC regional secretary Zandisile Qupe said on Monday further meetings were taking place between the provincial leadership and structures in the metro before a decision was announced.
The municipality had gone three years without a full-time municipal manager, before appointing Lindiwe Ndlela last month. But it still lacks permanent appointments to key managerial positions, Democratic Alliance Nelson Mandela Bay caucus leader Leon de Villiers said on Monday. While Mr Wayile had shown himself to be “honest”, there was weak leadership and political instability caused by infighting, he said.
Attempts by Mr Faku to “run the metro from his office” meant Mr Wayile’s appointment efforts were thwarted. This had had a “devastating impact” on service delivery, Mr de Villiers said.