‘Fire flashy Cassel Mathale’

2013-06-19 17:56

Calls to have Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale removed from his position have resurfaced again following media reports that the premier recently blew R142 000 in taxpayers’ money chartering helicopters.

The Star reported today that last month Mathale had spent R60 000 chartering a helicopter to fly him about 161km. In January, the report said, Mathale had hired another helicopter to travel 200km, from Polokwane to Musina, at a cost of R82 000.

The DA, which last month pushed for a vote of no confidence against Mathale, said tomorrow it would press Rudolph Phala, speaker of the Limpopo Legislature to review his decision of refusing to allow the house to debate a motion of no confidence against the premier.

“Tomorrow, the DA will make a formal appeal to the Speaker, Rudolph Phala, to review his refusal to allow a DA motion of no confidence against Premier Mathale to be debated last month”, said Desiree van der Walt, the party’s caucus leader in Limpopo.

It was not the first time Mathale had used a helicopter instead of his official vehicles, said Van der Walt.

“The DA witnessed this abuse first-hand during Chief Kgoshi Maleboho’s inauguration ceremony on 14 May 2011 where Premier Mathale arrived in a helicopter instead of using state vehicles to attend the event.The money Premier Mathale blows on helicopter flights could have been used to purchase textbooks, increase norms and standards funds to schools or provide water and proper sanitation for the citizens of Limpopo,” said Van der Walt.

Cope MPL and national spokesperson Johann Abrie called on civil society to put pressure on President Jacob Zuma to axe Mathale.

“The Congress of the People is calling on all hard-working tax payers and the unemployed in our province and beyond, to rise up and unite in calling on President Jacob Zuma to fire this flashy politician, Cassel Mathale. We call on everyone, across all political formations, the private sector and civil organisations to unite with us in this call. While Mathale is flying around like a movie star in a helicopter, schools had to postpone mid-term exams because the province alleged that it has no money to buy paper to print exam papers.”

However, spokesperson for the Limpopo provincial government Tibatso Mabitsela hit back, saying all the allegations were unfounded.

“On the use of helicopters, the Limpopo provincial government procured the services of a helicopter for the premier out of necessity and to suggest that it is wasteful is as disingenuous as it is outrageous. It is absurd to expect that the premier should fail to honour his obligations to serve the people of Limpopo by, among other things, not attending important occasions with various stakeholders in the province”.

He said when Mathale went to Musina, he was visiting some of the families affected by floods.

Cars could not access many of the rural villages at the time.

On the trip which set back taxpayers by R60 000, Mabitsela said Mathale had to attend important meetings, in different places, almost at the same time.

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