Themba November contests under the SACP banner in the party’s first election outing in 67 years, on November 29 2017. File Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Themba November contests under the SACP banner in the party’s first election outing in 67 years, on November 29 2017. File Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/SIMPHIWE NKWALI

The turbulent hung municipality of Metsimaholo in the Free State faces yet another possible leadership change since the 2016 local government elections, as its mayor faces a motion of no confidence within the next week.

The motion of no confidence into mayor Lindiwe Tshongwe was initially scheduled to take place on Friday, but the council meeting was not quorate as the DA, EFF and the SACP did not attend.

The motion against Tshongwe, who is a member of the SACP, was brought against her by the SACP’s coalition partners in the council, with the ANC said to have given its support to vote Tshongwe out.

The municipality was put under administration and dissolved after the coalition-led government failed to pass its budget for 2017-2018, and went to new elections in December 2017.

The elections were the first time the SACP had contested for political power against the ANC — its alliance partner — together with trade union federation Cosatu.

Among the allegations made to back up the motion was that the mayor was unable to control the members of the mayoral committee.

The motion against her was, however, preceded by the completion of an independent forensic investigation into allegations of misconduct on behalf of the municipality against Steven Molala, the suspended municipal manager of Metsimaholo. The forensic investigation by Edge Forensic and Risk Consultants found that there was substance to the allegations that Molala committed financial misconduct at the municipality in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The investigation recommended that Molala, among other officials, be disciplined.

Phillip Kganyago, provincial spokesperson for the SACP in the Free State, said on Monday that the only issue that triggered the motion of no confidence in the mayor was her determination "to fight instances of corruption in the municipality", and that the party believed it was linked to the forensic investigation.

He said on Friday that Tshongwe had been booked off for the past three weeks after undergoing an operation, and that she was not present at the meeting. He said the meeting would be rescheduled within the next seven days.

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