Violence against Ngwathe officials condemned

IOL pic jan18 anc flag cadres

Independent Newspapers

Photo: Phill Magakoe

The ANC has condemned violence against officials in the embattled Ngwathe municipality in Parys, in the Free State.

“We are not happy with this type of actions. We cannot tolerate this hooliganism,” ANC councillor Elias Sothoane said on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 after the petrol bombing of three municipal officials’ homes in the past week.

The attacks were believed to be related to a labour dispute.

The ANC’s local structures had met to discuss the attacks and a strike by municipal workers, said chairman Chris Acher.

“This has to be stopped for real,” he said.

The most recent petrol bombing was on Monday morning and it was being investigated with the other two, said Free State police spokesman Maseleka Langa.

The Ngwathe municipality’s administration has been in turmoil since last year.

The ANC asked executive mayor Jonas Ramokhoase to vacate his post four months after he took office in 2011 and municipal manager Norman Selai was suspended, but later resigned.

The chief financial officer Tladi Mokoena, who took over from Selai in an acting capacity, was himself suspended after approving hefty salary increases.

Municipal workers went on strike in November when the council ruled that the increases were illegal, suspended them and demanded that the beneficiaries reimburse the council.

On Tuesday, Sothoane said the council had decided to bring disciplinary charges against Mokoena.

The municipality’s current acting municipal manager Thabo Mokoena, who was deployed by the provincial government, confirmed that the disciplinary procedure had started.

He said a disciplinary hearing had been held on January 10 and would continue in March.

Mokoena said the municipality, the department of co-operative governance and the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) held talks on Tuesday.

Acher said the ANC supported the council’s action.

“The situation must be attended to before this beautiful town of us goes down the drain,” he said.

Sothoane said the council was working hard to normalise the situation.

There was no sign of protest action in Parys on Tuesday.

The municipality includes the towns of Parys, Vredefort, Heildron, Koppies and Edenville. – Sapa

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Violence against Ngwathe officials condemned