- Okapi, stabbed chicken found outside MEC’s home
- Threats linked to shake-up of troubled municipalities
Newly-appointed Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Thembeni Nxangisa, got the shock of his life on Thursday last week when he found a dead chicken and an Okapi knife outside his home in Bloemfontein.
Nxangisa, who has since his appointment gone on a spirit crusade to help seek solutions for ailing municipalities in the province, has attracted admirers and foes alike, along the way.
The new MEC has been under a barrage of death threats from some unknown people recently, but vows that he will not be deterred from doing his work.
“I’m not shaken. I remain more resolute and even more determined to continue with the programme of cleaning up municipalities without fear,” he told The Weekly in an exclusive interview yesterday (Thurs).
A senior member of the ANC in the Free State, Nxangisa said he immediately alerted police soon after coming across the gory discovery.
He said the police reacted swiftly and found blood samples on the ground and fresh footsteps of suspected individuals in his yard.
The MEC pointed out he had never been a target of threats or intimidation before his new appointment and can only suspect this incident was triggered by this and the work he has been doing of cleansing the department since assuming office in the sixth provincial administration.
Nxangisa said he believes the threats, from faceless people using private numbers, are as a result of a focused shake-up he is leading in helping ailing municipalities across the province to be more efficient in delivering services to the people.
“The dead chicken sent to me had multiple stab wounds on it, many, I guess this symbolises how many times I will be stabbed if I don’t back down, but hey, we are forging ahead. The President said we should turn municipalities around, so did Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, and that is what we are going to do in this province without fear,” he vouched.
One of the unknown people wrote on social network Face Book, “Hotla nkga sefehlefehle sa naketsana se mona seo ereng hae phinya hokong ya dikgoho di shwe kaofela. (Loosely translated ‘Your corpse will stink like a skank poep that kills chickens’).
Another one wrote, “Keya qotsa hape hotswa interview ya Makgala Masiteng le MEC Thembeni atsebe hore haa declare di by elections o declera war ka hara Maluti (I still quote from an interview conducted by Makgala Masiteng and MEC Thembeni; they must know that if he declares the by-elections, he will be declaring war in Maluti.)
Nxangisa noted the matter is also being handled by the ANC’s provincial executive committee, which deployed him to Cogta.
Of late Nxangisa had been to Boshof to quell tempers of members of the ANC who wanted to have the mayor of Kopanong, Enoch Seage, fired. Nxangisa however shot turned down this demand and this did not sit well with those baying for the mayor’s blood.
In Maluti-a-Phofung, disgruntled members of the ANC who did not want the council to sit and for the new mayor of the area to be elected, reportedly hurled derogatory insults at the MEC in a show of their displeasure in his endorsement of the new council.
The angry lot were apparently also against the ANC’s decision to go ahead with by-elections in the wards of councillors who were fired by the movement for defying its orders in appointing a new mayor last year.
“I am not fearful, I’m moving ahead and I’m not going to be deterred,” said the no-nonsense Nxangisa in response to these incidents.
The ANC in the province has warned that it is not taking threats directed at its deployees in government for granted.
ANC provincial spokesman Thabo Meeko confirmed that Nxangisa had received threats which he later also reported to both the police and the party.
“As the ANC we are not taking lightly any threats or intimidation from anybody on issues that are for the leadership to decide, especially people pursuing self-interest as opposed to the interest of the people,” said Meeko.
He acknowledged resolving issues threatening stability in the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality has not been an easy task.
The ANC had been holding consistent discussions with the affected councillors in the area so that the stand-off over replacing the 15 fired councillors can be a thing of the past.
The ruling party is calling for calm from its members in the area, appealing to them to subject themselves to the organisational discipline of the movement.
“By-elections in MAP have been given a green light and it’s the intention of the ANC to contest them and win so that stability can return to the area and service delivery speeded up on behalf of the people,” noted Meeko.