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Fikile Mbalula berates ANC officials after party bigwigs get a close-up view of potholed Free State

Fikile Mbalula berates ANC officials after party bigwigs get a close-up view of potholed Free State
The ANC shares its message to the people on the streets of Botshabelo, Bloemfontein on 07 January 2023.Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

The shoddy state of Botshabelo in the Free State, where the ANC is holding celebrations to coincide with its 111th birthday, prompted newly elected secretary-general Fikile Mbalula to promise to clean up the metro within five days.

Officials failing to do their work would be “shown the door” during a clean-up-operation in the Mangaung township of Botshabelo, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula pledged at the weekend.

The clean-up programme would proceed to other provinces soon, he vowed.

It was evident that clean-up street operations had already taken place to prepare for the weekend celebrations. However, Party officials, including President Cyril Ramaphosa in his motorcade, had to manoeuvre their way through badly potholed roads – some rudimentarily patched with mud and stones – to get to celebration venues. Residents who lack proper sanitation and must use a bucket sewage system watched the passing parade.


In 2019, Mangaung metro was placed under administration after service delivery collapsed.

“Why do we have a mayor in Mangaung whom we don’t know what he’s doing? Why? Why should we have a mayor, or anyone for that matter, when they are sleeping on the job,” said Mbalula.

He made the remarks while delivering the Peter Mokaba Lecture in Botshabelo at the invitation of the ANC Youth League’s task team. 

“Things must change, otherwise we will lose power because of sleepers, people who are sleeping on the job,” he said.

Mangaung is one of 10 municipalities Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke in her latest report flagged as having ongoing concerns over a period of five years.  Maluleke said municipalities across the Free State had gone backwards in terms of meeting deadlines for infrastructure improvement projects.

Members of the youth league sing at the Peter Mokaba memorial lecture at paradise hall in Botshabelo, Bloemfontein on 07 January 2023. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

According to an AG report on 1 January 2020, the provincial executive intervened in Mangaung “by imposing, and assuming responsibility for, a recovery plan that aimed to secure the metro’s ability to provide basic services and meet its financial commitments”, Daily Maverick reported.  

The AG’s office explained that the metro had forfeited a R429-million grant from the National Treasury “due to underspending that resulted from delays in completing grant-funded projects”. This added to the dire financial position of the metro and had a negative impact on service delivery.

The move to clean up provinces will form part of ANC renewal efforts as it grapples with what Mbalula has described as an existential crisis.

Statistics reported in Daily Maverick from the Institute of Security Studies’ public violence and protest monitor show that frustration with service delivery failures  across the country resulted in 585 incidents of public protest between January 2013 and April 2021, 378 (65%) of which turned violent.

The secretary-general also attacked ANC representatives who defied party discipline by voting with opposition and those who leaked information of confidential meetings, saying they would be “trampled”.

“The moment to act and to act decisively is now. Anybody who serves as the mayor, cabinet minister, must earn it.

ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula gives a keynote address at the Peter Mokaba memorial lecture in Botshabelo, Bloemfontein on 07 January 2023. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

“If you are a cabinet minister and you don’t work, why should we keep you there, sleeping on the job? Cabinet ministers must be busy, and my job as SG is to tell the President that certain people are sleeping and they must be fired,” said Mbalula.

He cautioned that an era in which leaders thought they were untouchable as they occupied senior positions was over: “It’s over, we will touch them.

Images from July 2021 show the poor conditions that residents of Gatvol informal settlement are living in. They took to the streets in a shutdown of Mangaung.  Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

“We have reached a moment now in the ANC where we’ve got to be principled, we are not going to do things that will compromise the ANC. People are stealing, they are running down municipalities and they expect us to smile? It’s not going to happen,” he added.


Police visibility ahead of the ANC January 8th Statement at Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

“President, why are you keeping people who are sleeping on the job? When we have got an abundance of talent, we want runners.”

ANCYL convenor Nonceba Mhlauli, who spoke before Mbalula, outlined the league’s expectations ahead of Ramaphosa’s expected address on Sunday.  

ANCYL convenor Nonceba Mhlauli at the Peter Mokaba memorial lecture on 07 January 2023. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

 “What we are expecting in his address is specific, clear guidelines on what the ANC’s plan to respond to the plight of young people in the country is, that is our message today we are giving to the SG, to go and relay to the NEC,” said Mhlauli. DM



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Gordon Bentley says:

    What qualifies ex members of the Anc Youth League to management positions in the Government?
    Were they sent on Management Courses? Do they have Financial Skills?
    Take “Mr Fix Fokol” as an example. Are we happy to have him as our Secretary General? His only claim to fame being that he was in the ancYL? His recent Fire and Brimstone speeches mean fokol, without action!
    I suggest the Anc send him on a set of management/Financial Courses, Yesterday!
    Look at his past performances in Sanral, etc.? What action occured? Fokol.

  • Cape Doctor says:

    “Things must change, otherwise we will lose power because of sleepers, people who are sleeping on the job,” he said.
    – That tells you exactly where the ANC’s priorities lie. Renewal, my _ss!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Good talk. Let’s see if it translates into visible action – and across the whole of this ANC failure nation, not just Botshabelo.

  • Heinrich Holt says:

    Frikkie, your SG predecessor and former premier of the Free Sate, has all the answers to your questions. As for cabinet ministers sleeping on the job, please set an example and recommend to your boss that you be fired.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    As long as racist BEE policies support and enable “the sleepers”. Nothing will change!

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The ANC obsession with power and the ANC speak as if they were in opposition all the years is made worse by Mbalula who has been in the ANC NEC and in the Cabinet for close to 20 years. He is discovering incompetence as an SG and saw none as a Minister of Police and his maladministration of that Ministry with lies and failure to protect the infrastructure of PRASA during the lockdown so that he cold generate tenders for ANC connected people. He claims that his mother lives in Bloemfontein and is now seeing for the first time the incompetence of ANC. He is connected to an electricity plug like Cyril that gets him shocked all the time to mislead the public and the media. It is not the first time that Cyril has been to Bloemfontein before the ANC Conference to peddle lies that were repeated at the concert yesterday. The less these clowns speak to the media the better.

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