Thabo Manyoni must resign his post as Municipal Demarcation Board Chairman

Issued by Cilliers Brink MP – DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
21 Aug 2022 in News

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Cilliers Brink MP.

The DA calls on the Chairman of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB), Thabo Manyoni, to tender his resignation and vacate his post with immediate effect.

This after it emerged that Manyoni is actively campaigning to become the ANC’s Free State Chairperson, an undertaking which violates the impartiality of the MDB as stipulated under the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, 1998 (hereinafter referred to as the Act).

Section 3 of the Act establishes the independence of the MDB and mandates the organization to be impartial. Manyoni’s public pursuit of political office in the ANC severely compromises the MDB’s statutory independence and contaminates its work on municipal and ward demarcation.

Manyoni was appointed in 2019 as MDB Chairperson, for a five year term, by President Cyril Ramaphosa. With his term due to expire in 2024, he remains bound by the provisions of the Act until he either chooses to resign or his term expires – whichever comes first.

With his background as a former high ranking political figure in the ANC, Manyoni should never have been appointed as Chairman of the MDB. His appointment exposes a serious flaw in the Act, which enables cadre deployment to be effected by the appointing authority – in this case, the President.

From the moment that he realized that he wanted to contest as the ANC’s Free State Chairperson, Manyoni should have immediately tendered his resignation. His continued stay as MDB Chairperson while simultaneously contesting for political office is highly unethical and unlawful, as made evident by the Act.

By insisting on hanging to his MDB post while campaigning for political office, Manyoni’s actions creates a real speculation that he wants to use the former as a fall back plan should his bid to be the head of the ANC in the Free State fail.

The Manyoni debacle clearly illustrates the dangers of cadre deployment in statutory and independent bodies such as the MBD. Deployed cadres always struggle to distinguish between their statutory obligations, as impartial arbiters, and their affinity to continue as partisan political activists. For the sake of the MDB’s integrity, Manyoni should do the right thing and resign as MDB Chairman.