- ANC FS hails resignation as genuine gesture
- Acting mayor to be appointed soon
The Executive Mayor of the troubled Letsemeng Local Municipality, Thandiwe Reachable, has called it quits.
The Weekly can reveal that Reachable tendered her resignation letter yesterday (Thur) following several violent service delivery protest actions that rocked the area last year, amid allegations of corruption and underhand dealings in which the mayor was also fingered.
Residents in the small town of Koffiefontein vowed to ensure Reachable is ousted from office as executive mayor and threatened to continue their protest until she had been moved.
Although Reachable was not reachable yesterday for comment, the ANC in the Free State confirmed her resignation.
The ruling party that deployed her welcomed her decision to vacate office with open arms, hailing her for being a dedicated and loyal member of the congress movement.
ANC provincial spokesman Thabo Meeko was adamant that Reachable’s going does not have to be interpreted as an admission of guilt with regards to the ongoing corruption allegations currently being investigated in the area.
Instead, said Meeko, Reachable voluntarily relinquished power without any order from the party’s provincial headquarters to do so.
Meeko said this was a true sign of her being genuinely concerned about finding lasting solutions to the challenges that continue to bedevil the area.
“Yes I can confirm that comrade Reachable has resigned as mayor of Letsemeng, voluntarily so, in her endeavour to allow the organisation to attend to the many issues that have been raised by communities during their protest actions,” he noted.
The ANC provincial spokesperson shot down insinuations that Reachable was ordered to resign, emphasising that this was her individual decision only motivated by the desire to ensure the area returns to peace and lasting solutions are found to issues pressing members of the community.
“Comrade Reachable was not pushed but she resigned, and we welcome her brave act as a tried and tested member of the ANC in this province. She stepped aside deliberately to give the movement a chance to attend to issues there. Even before she resigned she had been at the centre of efforts to find solutions to issues raised by communities,” he said.
He added: “There had been allegations of corruption made there and investigations are still going on. I must put it on record that her resignation is by no means an admission of doing something wrong. We will announce an acting mayor and later on fill that vacancy.”
Prior to Reachable’s resignation this week, protesting residents submitted a list of grievances to the authorities accusing the mayor of among others, bribery and fraud relating to claims that she allegedly paid certain ring leaders of the protestors a sizable amount of money to bring the civil unrest to an end.
Members of the ANC provincial executive committee had also been deployed to the area on fact finding missions and to cool flaring tempers by irate residents.
The worst came when formal schooling came to a halt for seven consecutive weeks amid the debilitating perennial protests that saw property destroyed and streets littered with burning rubble.
In reaction to news of the mayor’s resignation last night, Letsemeng residents expressed hope the ANC will deploy a candidate that will return the place to peace and ensure there is growth and corruption free municipal dealings.