ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula expressed the ANC’s “sincere disgust” at the “unprecedented conduct” of the party’s mayor, Xolani Tseletsele, in the Kopanong Municipality in the Free State.
Jagersfontein resident Kalebe Kalebe complained on Facebook about the roads, which sent Tseletsele into a fit of rage.
A journalist from The Citizen, on Monday, shared a video on X (formerly Twitter) showing Tseletsele confronting the resident in a threatening manner in front of his children. On Tuesday, Mbalula called a press briefing to address the incident.
A tough-talking Mbalula said:
He said the ANC was aware of what arrogance had done to the party’s image over the years.
Mbalula refered to the party’s adopted line “asinavalo” (“we are not anxious”) in the lead-up to the 2021 municipal elections, where the party was humbled at the polls.
Mbalula said the ANC must fear the people “even if they swear at us”.
“The time of people doing as they wish and think they’re their own bosses, are gone,” he said, adding that the actions of Tseletsele had “nothing about serving the interest of the people”.
Reading from the ANC rulebook, Mbalula gave the provincial ANC structure marching orders on how to deal with the matter.
He said the ANC is directing that Tseletsele be suspended with immediate effect by the provincial structure.
Citing rule 25.5 (8), Mbalula said the provincial structure “may convey the decision of temporary suspension to the member telephonically”.
“The party has directed through its structures that the mayor must be recalled immediately and subjected to disciplinary processes for this unbecoming conduct,” Mbalula said.
He said the ANC needed to take tough action and that wouldn’t be negotiated.
“The party has directed through its structures that the mayor must be recalled,” Mbalula said.
“Comrade Tseletsele will be held accountable. This despicable act requires prompt action from our part and that will not be negotiable…”
On his Facebook page, on Monday before Mbalula’s press briefing, Tseletsele wrote that he had apologised to Kaleba and his family.
“I have apologised to Mr Kalebe and his family. Any comment or politically motivated views to treat me like I have killed or raped or stolen money in any way – let’s contest each other on ideas of the revolution (sic),” he wrote.
He further wrote that he would apologise to the ANC community and do so through community meetings “if needs be”.
“Political fight back campaign won’t deter me from ensuring that we transform the municipality into a people’s based institution. I will also not back down on contesting any powers that exists! I have never been a coward to politically confront political issues, sharply and correctly so.
“I apologise to my friends and everyone; most importantly, I apologise to the Kalebe family for my actions! (sic),” read the Facebook post.
Tseletsele also serves as the ANC Youth League provincial chairperson. On Monday, after the video had been circulating on social media, the ANCYL in the Free State released a statement that appeared to justify his actions.
“The confrontation was on a comment made by Mr Kalebe insulting the chair with his mother’s private parts on Facebook, and both parties apologised in front of the police, and the matter was resolved amicably.
“The provincial chairperson further apologises to everyone for such behaviour and commits to never repeat such, as he is supposed to uphold the highest degree of responsibility in leading citizens with utmost respect and discipline,” read the statement shared on X.
Kalebe told The Citizen that the violent confrontation had left his children shaken.