SECUNDA – The pressure on the executive mayor, Ms Thandi Ngxonono, to vacate her office is increasing following her appearance in the Secunda Magistrate’s Court on assault charges on Wednesday, 17 October.
Ms Ngxonono allegedly slapped Ms Jane Gwebu, municipal official in the finance department, in the face in June.
She issued a statement in June and disputed the allegations and said it is aimed at tarnishing her image.
The mayor arrived in court with her bodyguard and one of the municipal law enforcers.
Other senior political leaders, including Ms Ethel Nkosi, MMC for Planning and Development, and Ms Lindi Masina attended the brief appearance.
Some ANC and DA councillors were also in attendance.
Speaking to the Echo afterwards, Ms Ciska Jordaan, DA caucus leader, said the mayor should have been suspended because she contravened the code of conduct as stipulated by the act.
“She was not suppose to reprimand the employee as it is the duty of the municipal manager.
“She was supposed to be suspended the same day we learned about the matter.
“However time and time again, the ANC voted against her suspension during council meetings.
“We don’t believe that she is able to take impartial decisions as the leader of the council while this case is hanging over her head.
“Violence continues and rises within the ANC, which is the reflection of the lack of accountability within the party.
“We hope for an outcome as soon possible.”
Ms Jordaan confirmed that the DA will support the motion of no confidence against the mayor which will be tabled by the Sakhisizwe Progressive Movement.
Other ANC members, mostly those who are part of the faction of nine councillors who were protesting, also intend to support the motion.
Mr Nick Mathabe, former ANC councillor, said it is not a secret that he and his allies are on the side of Ms Gwebu and that the mayor should vacate her office.
“In 2016 one of the comrades was in the list to be a councillor, but was removed because he had a case pending against him claiming the integrity of the organisation.
“Therefore the ANC must be consistent in handling its policies.
“We are calling on the regional chairman of the ANC to remove her until the court process is finished.”
He said the matter is in court because of Ms Ngxonono’s arrogance and that she has rejected the attempt of mediation initiated by him and other comrades.
Ms Ngxonono’s supporters were late for the court procedures and went to the gate of the municipal offices singing revolutionary songs.
Ms Simangele Ntuli, ward 10 councillor, and Ms Mency Ndoda, ward 20, were at the forefront of the mayor’s supporters.
The supporters were singing and chanting at the gate and Ms Ntuli went inside the municipal offices, came back and called them.
The gates were opened and they were led to the Council Chambers where Ms Ngxonono addressed them.
She said this was nothing but a smear campaign.
Mr Bheki Sindane, mayors supporter, said they came to support the mayor because they want service delivery. “We think she is being sabotaged. We will support the mayor because we believe that she is clean.”
The case was postponed to 28 November.