ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula hailed Kopanong Local Municipality Mayor Xolani Tseletsele’s bright future in the party, just two weeks after his dramatic announcement of the mayor’s suspension.
Briefing reporters on Wednesday, Mbalula was at pains to explain the latest on Tseletsele after the latter’s return to work on Monday.
He said the mayor would “undergo counseling and learn that one doesn’t do certain things”.
Tseletsele hosted Small Business Development Deputy Minister Dipuo Peters at a government event in Trompsburg, Free State.
During his speech, Tseletsele remarked that “weapons formed against me shall not prosper”, seemingly stamping his authority against his opponents.
The mayor is also the provincial chairperson of the ANCYL and deputy secretary of the Free State Young Communist League of SA (YCLSA), and commands support in the province.
His party suspended him for threatening resident Kalebe Kalebe at his Jagersfontein home. The incident was caught on video and went viral.
Young man ‘with a great future in ANC’
Mbalula defended himself and the Free State ANC, saying the party “acted accordingly”.
“It does not mean he wouldn’t go back to work at any given time. We told him he would be held accountable.
“The mayor was subjected to the disciplinary process, that process will tell us what needs to happen going forward.
“He is a young person with a great future in the ANC. He apologized and stopped the public rumbling of blaming others,” he said.
Mbalula did not specify the outcome of Friday’s disciplinary process, only saying that the matter was “being handled”.
Tseletsele’s supporters dragged Mbalula for publicly suspending him before the province could attend to the matter first.
His support base is of the view that the elderly in the ANC are on a mission to “sabotage” young and upcoming leaders whom they do not get along with, such as Tseletsele.
This came after Tseletsele last month attended interviews for a possible MPL post ahead of the 2024 elections.
His supporters claimed that his rise through the ANC ranks is not going down well with many in the party.
ANC ‘not taking us seriously’
Reacting to the short-lived mayor’s suspension, Kalebe said the ANC liked “playing marbles” when it comes to serious matters affecting communities.
“They should have imposed a serious suspension for a longer period for him, to show that they are serious and concerned about what he did.
“Government and the ANC do not take us seriously. We are on our own,” Kaleb said.
There hasn’t been a council meeting at the struggling Kopanong after Tseletsele’s suspension.
This is as workers’ salaries remain unpaid and residents struggle to access water and other essential municipal services.