TWO weeks after a task team was set up by the ANC provincial working committee to mediate in the political infighting plaguing some of the Eastern Cape's municipalities, it has yet to begin its work.
While some said they only found out about their supposed involvement in the task team through the media, others said the group was still trying to set up meetings with affected municipalities.
The task team, made up of provincial ANC leaders and alliance partners Cosatu and the SA Communist Party, was set up shortly after President Jacob Zuma and national executive committee members visited Nelson Mandela Bay in an attempt to end the year-long political strife.
The team includes ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane, chairman Phumulo Masualle, SACP chairman Mzoleli Mrara, secretary Xolile Nqatha, Cosatu chairman Mpumelelo Saziwa and secretary Mandla Rayi.
Mabuyane was not available for comment yesterday.
Mrara said yesterday that Mabuyane, who heads the task team, was trying to secure dates to meet with the troubled municipalities.
"We have not yet met any municipalities, but the [ANC] provincial secretary is still facilitating dates ... and once these have been set up, we will move swiftly to address the issues," he said. Mrara said the team had identified Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, Butterworth's Mnquma, Dutywa's Mbhashe, Ngqushwa and Mbizana municipalities as the political hotspots that the team would focus on. He said the team hoped to visit the Bay again, following the visit three weeks ago by Zuma and the NEC.
Cosatu secretary Mandla Rayi, however, said he was shocked to discover that he was part of the task team when he read news reports.
"I have never been to any meeting relating to the task team nor have I visited any municipality or know of any planned visits," he said.
"I only found I was supposedly part of a task team when I read an article about it." Nqatha declined to comment, saying this was an ANC initiative and the only person who could speak on it was Mabuyane, who was said to have been at ANC headquarters Luthuli House yesterday.
The task team is part of various attempts to put an end to the political infighting in municipalities such as the Bay, where there have been clashes between City Hall and Florence Matomela House for the past year.
A month ago, Cosatu and its affiliates marched through the Port Elizabeth city centre showing their support for Bay mayor Zanoxolo Wayile and his executive and calling for ANC regional head Nceba Faku to be recalled.
In the Mnquma and Mbhashe municipalities, infighting is such that ANC councillors vote against party decisions at council meetings.
Bay religious leaders have also come out expressing their frustrations that there is still no working solution in place to resolve the conflict between political leaders and bosses at City Hall.
In a press release sent by Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, Pastor Neville Goldman and Rev Danie Mouton, they said while they appreciated that Zuma visited the metro in a bid to resolve the infighting, it was not enough.
"The leaders of the churches have tried to initiate contact to find out why the threat of redeployment and instability in the metro has not been addressed... It is our intention to visit every area in the metro, but we are starting with the immediate need within these 'hot spots'."