Tshwane executive mayor Solly Msimanga was sent packing from Soshanguve on Saturday, where he was having a service delivery talk with residents of the community, alongside Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Paul Mashatile.
The mayor was whisked away by the state police from the crowd while he was still talking to the community leaders on his administration’s decisions on service delivery.
The police arrived the the KT Matubase Community Hall at the request of the Soshanguve residents who reportedly refused to be addressed by Tshwane’s Mayor Solly Msimanga, leading to him leaving the imbizo in Pretoria on Sunday.
The angry crowd booed him off stage and prevented him from speaking to them. But when Mashatile rose to speak to them, he was welcomed with a standing ovation, and so were ANC councillors.
The same crowd sang pro-ANC songs, while they warmly received MECs Panyaza Lesufi and Jacob Mamabolo when they opened the Soshanguve East Secondary School on Sunday.
The incidence occurred a week after the DA-led council Speaker Katlego Mathebe and MMC Michael Mkhari were rescued by police from people wearing ANC T-shirts while opening the Klip-Kruisfontein Cemetery.
The angry mob clearly noted that Soshanguve will not welcome city officials from the DA who according to them, had no business taking the glory for a project initiated by the former ANC administration.
The disruptions at the KT Matubase Community Hall also followed numerous protests by Vat Alles workers – part of the Expanded Public Works Programme – during which the DA-led administration was ridiculed.
Nevertheless, mayor Msimanga, who was taken aback by the people’s response to his visit, had said he would not be deterred of his commitment to serving the people.
“He will do that no matter how difficult it proves,” his spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said,
“We are making progress despite resistance often rooted in nefarious party political considerations and not in the best interests of the people who need services.”
Mashatile who was equally startled, managed to keep his composure and asked the angry protesters if the meeting could continue.
“We must have high discipline and high morals, comrades; we are both here to serve the community. Give us a chance,” Mashatile pleaded.
Speaking to news media on the matter, Mashatile said after long persuasions, it was difficult to force community members to listen to the mayor.
Meanwhile, members of the Democratic Alliance said they had anticipated the challenge after wrestling control of the city from the ANC in last August’s polls.
“We never thought for a second that the task ahead of us would be easy, but we knew we would make progress, which we are and will continue to make,” said Mgobozi adding that the leaked baseline document to destabilize the new administration was evidence that the ANC had not taken lightly to losing power in the city. The party’s conduct in council and misinformation peddled in the media were clear evidence it had not, he explained.
“This is the first time we have taken over the city but, following the DA’s takeover of Cape Town, the ANC also attempted to cause this kind of chaos for at least a year.
“So yes, it is normal, but it doesn’t have to be.”
The ANC has however, distanced itself from the disruptions, saying the DA-led city government was merely diverting attention away from the dire need for service delivery in Tshwane, where there was a serious absence of service in the townships.
“We don’t have a strategy to disrupt the functioning of the city, the mayor or the executive,
“These people could have been sent in order to hide the incompetence of the city with regards to provision of services. We suspect they could even have been hired to deliberately tarnish the image of the ANC.” ANC Tshwane spokesperson Teboho Joala
Joala said the current administration did not enjoy popular support in most of its townships, as shown by the polls. The ANC received the most votes in those areas and ANC councillors were making appearances regularly without a problem.
He referred the DA-administration as a stubborn administration that is anti-development in the townships and is trying to undo what the ANC achieved over the years.
We are not in denial about losing power, but are working hard to reclaim the city to continue with the transformation agenda, he added.