Magashule ally Mxolisi Siyonzana the new mayor of Mangaung
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The financially embattled Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has a new mayor following the resounding victory of ANC candidate Mxolisi Siyonzana over the DA’s candidate, Hardie Viviers, on Monday.
Newly appointed speaker Mapaseka Nkoane announced the result of the mayoral race at a full council meeting.
Nkoane revealed that Siyonzana - who is believed to have strong ties with suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule - received 57 votes while Viviers only managed to garner 25 votes. There were five spoiled votes.
After the results were announced, ANC councillors broke out in song, calling for unity in their ranks. Earlier this year, in May, the ANC’s electoral body led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe disbanded the provincial body and established a new interim structure under Mxolisi Dukwana - a fierce rival of Magashule.
Siyonzana resigned as speaker of the metro last week after the Free State ANC’s interim committee announced him as the preferred candidate.
Prior to his election, the DA described his nomination for the post as “contemptuous”, saying he had failed to be accountable and accused him of having played a prominent role in protecting corruption over the past decade.
“This is in light of a motion of no confidence in the DA that is pending against him,” Viviers said.
The metro council had been without a mayor since a vote of no confidence was passed against fraud and corruption accused Olly Mlamleli in August last year.
The battle to remove Mlamleli gained momentum in March last year when a second, failed motion of no confidence was brought against her.
The opposition parties and some ANC regional leaders in Mangaung - the biggest ANC region in the Free State - had blamed Mlamleli for the municipality’s downgrading to junk status by Moody’s rating agency.
Mlamleli was elected mayor in the August 2016 national municipal elections, following her stint as Free State MEC for Human Settlements under the then premier Magashule.
After being in office for less than two years, in June 2018 the EFF filed its first motion of no confidence against her. In their motion, the party cited that that under Mlamleli’s leadership, the auditor-general gave the municipality a qualified audit opinion.
They also claimed that under her leadership Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality became “technically bankrupt”.