Cele, Mkhize, Hanekom broker truce in Kimberley, following protests
A truce was brokered to end protests in Kimberley after a meeting on Tuesday between top ANC officials, including Police Minister Bheki Cele and disgruntled residents in the diamond-mining Northern Cape town, ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga said.
He said the protests were raised in the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Monday and at the instruction of the party's top six, headed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the three officials travelled to the Sol Plaatje municipality to get to the bottom of the issues.
"He (Ramaphosa) said the issues must be resolved, particularly in an amicable way, without confrontation," said Ngxanga.
Cele was accompanied by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zweli Mkhize and Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom.
The officials went wearing "both hats" - as NEC members and government officials - so that they could deal with the issues raised from government and party perspectives.
The delegation also met the party's provincial executive committee's top officials, and then representatives of the disgruntled groups of people who have been protesting in suburbs around Kimberley, particularly in Galeshewe.
Mangaliso Matika removal
Ngxanga said residents who spoke to them said they wanted the municipal manager, the chief financial officer and the mayor removed, and were angry over electricity tariffs the municipality had imposed.
However, the Northern Cape High Court dealt with the mayoral issue following an application by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and ordered that Executive Mayor Mangaliso Matika vacate his office with immediate effect.
The DA wanted the outcome of a special council meeting, where a motion of no confidence in Matika was passed last week Wednesday, to be upheld. The matter will be finalised on August 22.
Two weeks ago, a peaceful protest to the municipal buildings turned violent when Matika chose to address protesters from inside the building.
The ANC officials and disgruntled residents have agreed to meet again next week for further discussions on the issues raised and a date and time will be set soon.
Ngxanga said that as he was speaking on Tuesday night, it appeared to be calm.