The decision taken by the ANC’s provincial executive council (PEC) to instruct the executive mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM) to reinstate the members of the mayoral committee who were removed earlier this year, came under scrutiny the past two weeks.
On 31 May this year, Cllr Dowelani Nenguda, executive mayor of the VDM, made the announcement that several changes had been made to the composition of the mayoral committee. The councillors who were among those axed are Ndivhuwo Radamba, Joe Chavani, Robert Magada and Samuel Magada. At the time, Nenguda said the move had been made to strengthen the leadership and to preserve gender equity, as many of the newly appointed members were women.
The controversial reshuffle of the committee was, however, regarded by some as part of a political purge, ahead of the long-awaited regional conference that was postponed because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Barely a week after the removal of the committee members, Cllr Ndivhuwo Radamba was arrested for allegedly intimidating Executive Mayor Nenguda and the mayor of Thulamela, Cllr Avhashoni Tshifhango, by sending them a video clip showing a gun firing bullets. The case was later withdrawn after the two mayors indicated that they were not willing to continue pressing charges.
The PEC intervened two weeks ago and seemingly ordered that the sacked members be reinstated. Mr Donald Selamolela, spokesperson for the ANC in Limpopo, said for such a reversal to be made and implemented with immediate effect was important because the provincial executive council (PEC) had not been properly informed and consulted.
The ANC’s youth coordinator in the Vhembe region, Mr Festos Mafela, said the reshuffle had not been done properly right from the day the move had been implemented. Mafela said they suspected that councillors not standing with the executive mayors ahead of the regional conference had been targeted.
Meanwhile, Ndivhuwo Radamba, Joe Chavani, Robert Magada and Samuel Magada confirmed that they had been reinstated in their positions with immediate effect and had resumed their duties.
The veteran political activist and chairperson of the Mass Democratic Movement in the Vhembe Region, Dean Simon Tshenuwani Farisani, disagreed with the PEC’s instruction and said that the reshuffling in May had been done properly. He accused the members of the PEC of not acting properly in the matter.
Dean Farisani said that former executive mayors in Vhembe (without mentioning their names), had acted in a similar manner, but such decisions had not been reversed by the PEC. He maintained that the earlier reshuffling process had been proper and correct, as the executive mayor had the political power to appoint or dismiss members of the mayoral committee.
Date:19 November 2020 - By: Silas Nduvheni